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pntterettg  of  ®s  rmtta 

The  Late  Maurice  Hutton, 

M.A.,  LL.D. 

Principal  of  University  College 










From  the  portrait  at  Hughenden,  painted  in  1873  fij/  G.  F.  Middleton. 











Read  no  history,  nothing  but 
biography,  for  that  is  life  without 

Stan  fork 


All  rights  reserved 


Set  up  and  electrotyped.     Published,  April,  1920 



PREFACE       .            .            .            .            ,            .            .            .            .            ,            .  ix 

I.     THE    IRISH    CHURCH.     1868       ......  1 

II.     DEFEAT  AND  RESIGNATION.     1868        .        .        .        .  56 

—  III.     RESERVE  IN  OPPOSITION.     1868-1871    .        .       .        .  102  f 

—  IV.     LOTHAIR.     1869-1870      .        .       ,        .       .        .       .    '    .  148 

—  V.     THE  TURN  OF  THE  TIDE.     1872-1873     .        .        .        .  171  | 
VI.     BEREAVEMENT.     1872-1873       '.       ..        .-;...       .  221 


1873-1875       '  .       .       .  ."      .       .        .       .237 

VIII.     POWER.     1874    ..     (.       .......  271 


1874    .        .  '     . 301 

"""     X.     SOCIAL   REFORM.     1874-1875 359 

""  XI.     AN  IMPERIAL  FOREIGN  POLICY.     1874-1875      .        .  406  I 

XII.     SUEZ  CANAL  AND  ROYAL  TITLE.     1875-1876      .        .  439  / 

-1JCIII.     FROM  THE  COMMONS  TO  THE  LORDS.     1876-1877   .  488 





From  a  portrait  by  C.  F.  Middleton,  at  Hughenden. 


GATHORNE  HARDY,  FIRST  EARL  OF  CRANBROOK       .        .       28 
From  a  portrait  by  W.  E.  Miller,  at  Hughenden. 


From  a  portrait  after  J.  Swinton,  at  Hughenden. 

"CRITICS" 170 

From  the  cartoon  by  Sir  John  Tenniel,  in  Punch. 


From  a  portrait  after  Sir  E.  Landseer,  R.A.,  at  Hughenden. 

SELINA  COUNTESS  OF  BRADFORD      ......     248 

From  a  portrait  after  Sir  F.  Grant,  P.R.A.,  at  Hughenden. 

MR.  DISRAELI  AT  GLASGOW  UNIVERSITY,  1873     .        .        .     264 
From  a  drawing  by  Mrs.  Blackburn,  at  Hughenden. 


From  a  portrait  by  Van  Havermaet,  at  Hughenden. 

GROUP  AT  HUGHENDEN,  WHITSUNTIDE,  1876       .        .        .312 
From  a  photograph  by  H.  W.  Taunt,  Oxford. 

ROBERT,  THIRD  MARQUIS  OF  SALISBURY       ....     360 
From  a  portrait  at  Hughenden. 


From  a  photograph. 

EDWARD  HENRY,   FIFTEENTH   EARL   OF  DERBY       .        .     412 
From  a  photograph  by  the  London  Stereoscopic  Co. 

BARON  LIONEL  DE   ROTHSCHILD       .        .        .        .        .        .448 

From  a  portrait  at  New  Court. 



It  was  originally  intended  that  the  story  of  the  last 
phase  of  Disraeli's  life  should  be  completed  in  one  volume. 
This  would  only  have  been  possible  if  his  management 
of  the  Eastern  Question,  the  most  outstanding  feature 
of  his  great  Administration,  were  treated  merely  in 
general  terms;  a  course  which,  .however  unsatisfactory 
in  itself,  appeared  to  be  discreet  and  judicious,  so  long  as 
Russia  was  our  faithful  ally  in  the  war,  and  was  governed 
by  a  friendly  Sovereign,  the  grandson  of  that  Emperor 
Alexander  who  was  in  antagonism-  in  the  later  seventies 
to  Queen  Victoria  and  to  her  Minister.  But  the  Revolu- 
tion in  Russia,  the  repudiation  of  the  Alliance,  and  the 
murder  of  the  Tsar  have  entirely  changed  the  conditions. 
There  can  be  now  no  reasons  of  international  delicacy  to 
prevent  a  full  disclosure  of  Disraeli's  Eastern  policy ;  with- 
out which  disclosure,  indeed,  the  record  of  his  life  and  ac- 
complishment would  be  seriously  imperfect.  While  the 
course  of  history  has  thus  tended  to  promote  an  extension 
of  plan,  there  has  also  been  placed  unexpectedly  at  my  dis- 
posal a  great  mass  of  important  new  material  for  the  final 
eight  years,  1873  to  1881.  It  has,  therefore,  become  inevi- 
table to  expand  the  proposed  one  last  volume  into  the  two 
volumes  now  submitted  to  the  public. 

During  more  than  half  the  period,  1868  to  1881,  covered 
by  these  volumes,  Disraeli  was  the  First  Minister  of  the 
Crown ;  and  the  principal  documents  not  hitherto  accessible 
to  the  world,  bearing  on  his  public  policy,  must  necessarily 
be  his  correspondence  with  Queen  Victoria.  His  Majesty 
the  King  has  graciously  permitted  me  to  make  an  extensive 



selection  from  these  royal  papers,  and  thus  to  illustrate  and 
elucidate  in  an  ample  manner  both  the  policy  of  the  Min- 
ister and  his  relations  to  his  Sovereign.  I  am  deeply  sen- 
sible of  the  magnitude  of  the  benefit  that  the  book  has 
received  through  His  Majesty's  kindness,  for  which  I  desire 
to  tender  very  dutiful  acknowledgments. 

Only  second  to  my  obligations  to  the  King  are  my  in- 
debtedness and  my  gratitude  to  those  who  have  afforded 
me  access  to  the  new  material  mentioned  above.  By  the 
courtesy  of  the  Bridgeman  family,  and,  in  particular,  of  the 
Dowager  Lady  Bradford,  of  Commander  the  Hon.  Richard 
Orlando  Beaconsfield  Bridgeman,  R.N.,  Beaconsfield's  god- 
son and  namesake,  a  gallant  officer  who  has  since  given  his 
life  for  his  country,  and  of  Lady  Beatrice  Pretyman,  the 
present  owner,  I  have  been  enabled  to  make  copious  use  of 
the  voluminous  correspondence  which  Disraeli  in  his  last 
years  carried  on  with  two  sisters,  Selina  Lady  Bradford 
and  Anne  Lady  Chesterfield.  The  character  of  Disraeli's 
letters  and  of  the  intimacy  between  him  and  these  ladies  is 
fully  explained  in  Volume  V.,  chapter  7 ;  and  every  subse- 
quent chapter  in  both  volumes  bears  witness  to  the  vital 
importance  of  the  contribution  thus  made  to  Disraelian 
biography.  Attention  may  perhaps  be  drawn  here  to  one 
feature  of  this  familiar  correspondence:  the  highest  in  the 
land  are  often  playfully  alluded  to  in  it  under  fanciful 
names.  Thus  Queen  Victoria  appears  frequently  as  the 
Faery  or  Fairy,  Disraeli's  imagination  conceiving  of  Her 
Majesty  as  a  modern  Queen  Elizabeth,  a  nineteenth-century 
Faery  Queen,  so  that  he  could  write  of  and  to  her  somewhat 
in  the  same  romantic  fashion  as  Spenser  or  Raleigh  em- 
ployed in  addressing  and  describing  their  magnificent 

I  have  to  thank  the  Beaconsfield  trustees  for  the  con- 
tinuance of  their  confidence  and  encouragement;  and  to 
lament  that  death  has  once  more  caused  a  breach  in  their 
ranks:  Mr.  Leopold  de  Rothschild,  whose  marriage  recep- 
tion in  January,  1881,  was  among  the  last  social  functions 
which  Beaconsfield  attended,  having  passed  away  since 

PREFACE  TO  VOLUMES  V.  AND  VI.       xi 

Volume  IV.  was  published.  There  are  many  others  to 
whom  I  owe  thanks  either  for  permission  to  use  letters,  or 
for  more  direct  assistance  in  the  preparation  of  these  vol- 
umes. I  would  especially  mention  Lord  Derby,  Lord  San- 
derson, Lord  Salisbury,  Lord  Iddesleigh,  the  Bishop  of 
Worcester,  Major  Coningsby  Disraeli,  Mr.  Norton  Long- 
man, Mr.  Murray,  and  my  wife. 

It  is  with  a  sense  of  thankfulness  and  relief  that  I  bring 
to  a  conclusion  a  biography,  the  publication  of  which  has 
suffered  so  much  through  death  and  delay.  Lord  Rowton, 
Beaconsfield's  literary  executor ;  Nathaniel  Lord  Rothschild 
and  Sir  Philip  Rose,  the  original  trustees  of  the  Beacons- 
field  estate;  Mr.  Moberly  Bell,  who,  at  the  request  of  the 
trustees,  undertook,  on  behalf  of  The  Times,  to  arrange 
for  the  publication  and  to  supply  a  biographer;  and  Mr. 
Monypenny,  who  projected  the  work  and  completed  the  first 
two  volumes  —  are  all  dead ;  and  further  delay  has  been 
caused  by  illness  and  the  war.  The  fact  that  two  writers 
have  been  successively  engaged  upon  the  book  has  neces- 
sarily impaired  its  unity;  though  I  have  not  consciously 
departed  from  the  lines  upon  which  Mr.  Monypenny 
worked,  save  perhaps  in  making  an  even  more  extensive  use 
of  the  wealth  of  Disraeli's  letters  at  my  command.  Wher- 
ever possible,  I  have  preferred  to  let  Disraeli  tell  his  own 
story,  rather  than  to  tell  it  for  him.  It  is,  I  hope,  a  fair 
claim  to  make  for  these  six  volumes  that,  whatever  their 
imperfections,  they  largely  enable  the  reader  to  realise  Dis- 
raeli's life  from  the  inside,  through  the  evidence  of  his 
familiar  letters  to  wife,  sister,  and  friends,  as  well  as  of  his 
political  and  personal  letters  to  his  Sovereign  and  his  col- 

This  method  of  biography,  of  course,  precludes  brevity. 
But  a  large  canvas  is  required  to  display  with  anything  like 
justice  the  character  and  achievement  of  one  who  did  so 
much,  and  who  was  so  much ;  who  held  the  attention  of  the 
world,  as  man,  author,  Parliamentarian,  and  statesman,  for 
nearly  sixty  years,  from  the  publication  of  Vivian  Grey 
till  the  last  day  of  his  life;  whose  career  his  rival  Glad- 


stone  pronounced  to  be  the  most  remarkable,  with  the  pos- 
sible exception  of  the  younger  Pitt,  in  our  long  Parliamen- 
tary history;  who,  apart  from  his  political  eminence,  won 
a  definite  and  distinguished  place  in  literature ;  and  who,  to 
adopt  the  apt  words  of  a  reviewer  of  the  fourth  of  these 
volumes,  was  also  '  one  of  the  most  original,  interesting, 
and  interested  human  beings  who  ever  walked  through  the 
pageant  of  life.'  Unlike  as  Disraeli  was  in  most  respects 
to  the  great  Tory  of  a  hundred  years  before  him,  Dr.  John- 
son, he  resembled  him  in  being  a  unique  figure  of  extraor- 
dinary and,  I  would  fain  believe,  perennial  human  interest; 
one  of  those  figures  about  whose  personality  and  perform- 
ance the  curiosity  of  the  world  remains  ever  active.  It  has 
been  my  aim,  as  it  was  Mr.  Monypenny's,  from  the  mass 
of  papers  bequeathed  to  Lord  Rowton,  and  from  an  abun- 
dance of  other  original  sources,  to  satisfv  that  curiosity. 

G.  E.  B. 

October,  1919. 



From  February,  1868,  till  his  death  thirteen  years  later, 
Disraeli  was  the  titular  head,  as  he  had  long  been  the  most 
vital  force,  of  the  Conservative  party.  But  until  after  his 
victory  at  the  polls  in  1874  his  authority  was  of  an  im- 
perfect character,  liable  to  question  and  dispute.  Lord 
Derby  lived  for  a  year  and  a  half  after  his  resignation; 
and  throughout  that  period  many  of  his  old  followers  still 
looked  upon  him  as  their  leader,  with  Disraeli  as  acting 
deputy;  a  position  which,  indeed,  Disraeli  himself  had 
gracefully  volunteered  to  accept,  though  Derby's  common 
sense  and  good  feeling  had  repudiated  the  suggestion.1 
Derby's  death,  in  1869,  converted  Disraeli's  regency  over 
the  party  into  actual  sovereignty ;  but  the  ill-fortune  which 
had  attended  the  Conservatives  at  the  General  Election 
in  November,  1868,  continued  to  discredit  the  foresight 
and  diminish  the  prestige  of  the  new  Chief  until  the  by- 
elections  from  1871  onwards  showed  that  the  tide  had 
turned.  With  success  came  general  and  unstinted  confi- 
dence; and  during  the  Administration  of  1874—1880,  Dis- 
raeli exercised  as  undisputed  a  sway  over  his  followers,  and 
as  complete  a  control  over  Parliament,  as  ever  was  attained 
in  this  country  by  Minister  or  party-leader.  The  confidence 
of  his  party  was  not  seriously  shaken  by  the  crushing  defeat 
of  1880;  he  retained  it  in  almost  undiminished  measure  to 
the  last  day  of  his  life. 

The  nine  months  of  his  first  Administration  were,  how- 

i  See  Vol.  IV.,  p.  590. 


ever,  a  troubled  and  unsatisfactory  time.  Not  that  the 
unfavourable  turn  of  events  was  due  to  the  deficiencies  of 
the  Cabinet,  which  was  constituted  as  follows : 

First  Lord  of  the  Treasury  . .  B.  DISRAELI. 

Lord  Chancellor  . .  . .  LORD  CAIRNS. 

Lord  President  . .  . .  DUKE  OF  MARLBOROUGH. 

Lord  Privy  Seal  . .  . .  EARL  OF  MALMESBURY. 

Home  Secretary  . .  . .  GATHORNE  HARDY. 

Foreign  Secretary  . .  . .  LORD  STANLEY. 

Colonial  Secretary  . .  . .  DUKE  OF  BUCKINGHAM. 

War  Secretary       . .  . .  . .  SIR  JOHN  PAKINGTON. 

Indian  Secretary  . .  . .  SIR  STAFFORD  NORTHCOTE. 

Chancellor  of  the  Exchequer  . .  G.  WARD  HUNT. 

First  Lord  of  the  Admiralty  . .  HENRY  J.  L.  CORRY. 

President  of  the  Board  of  Trade  . .  DUKE  OF  RICHMOND. 

First  Commissioner  of  Works  ...  LORD  JOHN  MANNERS. 

Chief  Secretary  for  Ireland  . .  EARL  OF  MAYO. 

Though  not  so  powerful  as  Derby's  original  Cabinet  in 
July,  1866,  it  was  still  a  formidable  combination,  contain- 
ing half  a  dozen  members  who  were  real  statesmen,  and 
several  more  who  were  experienced  and  competent  adminis- 
trators. If  it  had  lost  Cranborne,  it  had  gained  Cairns; 
and  its  principal  loss,  that  of  Derby  himself,  did  not  affect 
the  Chamber  in  which  the  battle  was  immediately  to  be 
fought,  though  it  undoubtedly  affected  the  ultimate  tribunal, 
the  electorate,  who  had  regarded  him  with  respect,  though 
not  with  enthusiasm,  for  nearly  forty  years.  But  the  most 
efficient  Cabinet  is  of  no  avail  in  the  face  of  an  ad- 
verse, and  united,  Parliamentary  majority.  In  Parliament 
Whigs,  Liberals,  Radicals,  and  Irish,  taken  all  together,  had 
a  majority  of  sixty  or  seventy  over  the  Conservatives ;  and, 
with  the  settlement  of  the  Reform  question  which  had 
divided  them,  they  would,  however  sore  with  one  another, 
have  a  disposition  to  reunite  in  order  to  regain  office. 

One  aspect  of  the  Parliamentary  situation  demands  espe- 
cial notice.  As  Derby  had  been  obliged  by  ill-health  to 
give  way  to  Disraeli,  so  Russell,  owing  to  his  increasing 
years,  had  retired  this  winter  in  favour  of  Gladstone.  With 


the  session  of  1868  the  protagonists  of  the  two  parties  in  the 
House  of  Commons  stood  out  as  the  party  leaders.  Each 
admired  and  respected  the  great  Parliamentary  qualities  of 
his  rival ;  but  Gladstone's  respect  was  combined  with  an  alloy 
of  deep  moral  disapprobation  —  a  frame  of  mind  which 
was  fostered  by  what  Disraeli  had  called  the  '  finical  and 
fastidious  crew  '  of  High  Anglicans  among  whom  Gladstone 
familiarly  moved.  To  them  and  to  him  Disraeli's  eleva- 
tion was  an  offence.  A  brilliant  journalist  shrewdly  di- 
agnosed the  Gladstonian  temper  of  the  moment: 

One  of  the  most  grievous  and  constant  puzzles  of  King  David 
was  the  prosperity  of  the  wicked  and  the  scornful,  and  the  same 
tremendous  moral  enigma  has  come  down  to  our  own  days.  .  .  . 
Like  the  Psalmist,  the  Liberal  leader  may  well  protest  that  verily 
he  has  cleansed  his  heart  in  vain  and  washed  his  hands  in  in- 
nocency;  all  day  long  he  has  been  plagued  by  Whig  Lords  and 
chastened  every  morning  by  Radical  manufacturers;  as  blame- 
lessly as  any  curate  he  has  written  about  Ecce  Homo;  and  he  has 
never  made  a  speech,  even  in  the  smallest  country  town,  without 
calling  out  with  David,  How  foolish  am  I,  and  how  ignorant! 
For  all  this,  what  does  he  see?  The  scorner  who  sbot  out  the  lip 
and  shook  the  head  at  him  across  the  table  of  the  House  of  Com- 
mons last  session  has  now  more  than  heart  could  wish;  his  eyes, 
speaking  in  an  Oriental  manner,  stand  out  with  fatness,  he  speak- 
eth  loftily,  and  pride  compasseth  him  about  as  a  chain.  .  .  . 
That  the  writer  of  frivolous  stories  about  Vivian  Grey  and  Con- 
ingsby  should  grasp  the  sceptre  before  the  writer  of  beautiful  and 
serious  things  about  Ecce  Homo  —  the  man  who  is  epigrammatic, 
flashy,  arrogant,  before  the  man  who  never  perpetrated  an  epi- 
gram in  his  life,  is  always  fervid,  and  would  as  soon  die  as 
admit  that  he  had  a  shade  more  brain  than  his  footman  —  the 
Radical  corrupted  into  a  Tory  before  tbe  Tory  purified  and 
elevated  into  a  Radical  —  is  not  this  enough  to  make  an  honest 
man  rend  his  mantle  and  shave  his  head  and  sit  down  among 
the  ashes  inconsolable  ? l 

But  inaction  in  face  of  such  a  moral  paradox  would  have 
been  wholly  out  of  keeping  with  Gladstone's  vigorous  char- 
acter. His  '  teeth  were  set  on  edge,'  as  Gathorne  Hardy 

^  Pall  Mall  Gazette,  March  3,  1868. 


wrote,  (  and  he  prepared  to  bite.'  *  It  might  be  thought  that 
the  last  session  of  an  expiring  Parliament  —  a  session  which 
must  be  devoted  mainly  to  the  corollaries  of  Reform  and  to 
necessary  administrative  work  —  would  afford  him  little 
opportunity.  There  was,  however,  a  weapon  to  his  hand, 
but  it  was  one  which  he  had  hitherto  hesitated  to  grasp,  so 
completely  would  its  employment  mark  his  severance  from 
the  most  cherished  of  the  ideas  with  which  he  entered  pub- 
lic life.  On  the  other  side,  nothing  could  recommend  him 
so  strongly  to  the  party  which  he  had  now  finally  adopted 
as  to  brandish  the  sword  of  religious  equality,  even  if  only 
in  Ireland.  Gladstone's  Church  views  had  been  the  one 
great  stumblingblock  to  complete  sympathy  with  his  new 
party ;  and  hitherto  he  had  declined  to  associate  himself  with 
that  attack  on  the  Irish  Establishment  which  had  united 
Whigs  (when  in  opposition),  Radicals,  and  the  Irish  brigade 
ever  since  the  days  of  Russell's  motion  in  1835  about  the 
Appropriation  Clause.  He  had,  indeed,  he  has  told  us, 
regarded  the  position  of  the  Irish  Church  as  indefensible 
since  1863 ;  but  both  in  1865  and  in  1866  he  had,  as  Min- 
ister, resisted  motions  against  it,  and  when  he  was  seeking 
re-election  at  Oxford  in  1865  had  informed  a  clerical  voter 
that  he  regarded  the  question  as  '  remote  and  apparently 
out  of  all  bearing  on  the  practical  politics  of  the  day.' 
At  that  time,  so  far  as  public  declarations  went,  it  seemed 
even  more  unlikely  that  Gladstone  would  effect  Irish  dis- 
establishment than  that  Disraeli  would  carry  household 

But  the  Fenian  conspiracy  had  forcibly  directed  public 
attention  to  the  defects  of  British  government  in  Ireland, 
and  the  leaders  of  both  parties  were  preoccupied  with  Irish 
policy.  The  object  at  which  both  aimed  was  the  reconcilia- 
tion with  England  of  the  leaders  of  Roman  Catholic  opin- 
ion in  Ireland.  With  Roman  Catholic  opinion  in  England 

i  Gathorne  Hardy's  Life  of  Lord  Cranbrook,  Vol  I.,  p.  264.  Hardy's 
diaries  are  most  valuable  evidence  as  regards  the  proceedings  of  Dis- 
raeli's two  Governments;  and  the  following  pages  will  show  how  great 
are  my  obligations  to  the  admirable  biography  of  the  father  by  the  son. 


Disraeli  had  established  a  modus  vivendi  during  Palmer- 
ston's  Government,  though,  owing  to  an  indiscretion  of 
Derby's,  its  effect  had  been  impaired  at  the  last  General 
Election.  In  regard  to  Ireland  he  had  advocated  concilia- 
tion, but  conciliation  through  the  action  of  a  powerful  and 
vigorous  executive,  from  his  early  days  in  Parliament.  In 
a  famous  speech  l  in  1844  he  had  said  that  it  was  the  duty 
of  an  English  Minister  to  effect  in  Ireland  by  policy  all 
those  changes  which  a  revolution  would  effect  by  force;  in 
1847  he  had  urged  the  liberal  outlay  of  English  gold  to 
forward  Irish  economic  development;  in  the  first  Derby- 
Disraeli  Government  he  had  endeavoured  to  pass  into  law  a 
comprehensive  reform  of  Irish  land  tenure  in  favour  of 
the  tenant;  and  in  the  second  Derby-Disraeli  Government 
he  had  contemplated  the  grant  of  a  charter  to  a  Roman 
Catholic  University  in  Dublin,  but  had  lacked  the  time  to 
carry  the  policy  into  act.  It  was  this  last  scheme  which 
he  took  up  once  more  in  the  years  1867  and  1868,  being 
much  encouraged  by  Manning,  who  had  recently  become 
Roman  Catholic  Archbishop  of  Westminster,  and  who  was 
eager  to  assume  the  lead  in  all  movements  for  the  benefit 
of  his  adopted  co-religionists.  From  May,  1867,  to  March, 
1868,  Disraeli  was  in  regular  communication  with  the 
Archbishop,  who  represented  himself  as  fully  acquainted 
with  the  views  of  Cardinal  Cullen  and  the  other  leaders  of 
Irish  Roman  Catholic  opinion.  After  an  informal  conver- 
sation on  an  early  Sunday  in  May,  Manning  brought  the 
Rector  of  the  existing  Roman  Catholic  University  in  Dublin 
to  see  Disraeli.  In  a  letter  arranging  for  the  interview 
Manning  wrote,  on  May  21 :  'I  am  able  to  say,  of  my 
own  knowledge,  that  any  favourable  proposal  from  Govern- 
ment on  the  subject  of  the  Catholic  University  would  not 
only  encounter  no  opposition,  but  would  be  assisted.  I  be- 
lieve I  may  say  that  this  includes  the  granting  of  a  charter. 
What  I  write  is  not  from  second-hand.  I  can  add  that  the 
"  Chief "  I  conferred  with  is  in  the  front,  and  he  fully 
i  See  Vol.  II.,  pp.  188-194. 


recognises  the  need  of  removing  the  Catholic  education  of 
Ireland  from  the  turbulent  region  of  politics.'  He  urged 
Disraeli  to  disregard  certain  expressions  of  Irish  members 
of  Parliament,  hostile  to  chartering  a  Catholic  University. 
'  I  am  now  able  to  state/  he  wrote  on  August  20,  '  that  they 
do  not  represent  the  sense  and  desire  of  Cardinal  Cullen  or 
of  the  Irish  Bishops.'  He  warned  Disraeli  of  the  impor- 
tance of  securing  the  co-operation  of  the  Irish  Bishops. 

In  the  winter  months  the  conversations  were  resumed. 
On  December  22  Manning  wrote  that  he  had  just  received 
a  letter  from  Cardinal  Cullen  '  on  the  subject  of  our  last  con- 
versation,' and  requested  a  further  appointment,  which  ap- 
parently took  effect  on  December  28.  On  January  15, 
1868,  he  suggested  another  talk,  stating  in  his  letter  that 
he  had  been  reading  '  with  great  assent '  Disraeli's  speech 
on  Irish  affairs  in  1844.  Again,  on  February  19,  he  ac- 
cepted an  appointment  for  the  following  day.  This  was 
just  after  the  reopening  of  Parliament,  when  the  grave 
news  of  Derby's  relapse  was  turning  all  eyes  upon  his 
Chancellor  of  the  Exchequer.  '  I  fully  understood  your 
silence,'  Manning  wrote,  *  knowing  how  much  and  anxiously 
you  must  be  pressed.  The  present  moment  is  truly  a  crisis, 
but  I  trust  that  all  may  issue  in  good.'  Throughout  these 
weeks  Manning  was  lending  his  assistance  in  maturing  the 
Ministerial  plan,  and  he  hailed  Disraeli's  elevation  to  the 
Premiership  in  terms  which  showed  not  obscurely  that  he 
was  looking  forward  to  co-operation  with  him  in  a  policy 
of  Roman  Catholic  amelioration  —  a  policy  which  involved, 
besides  University  education,  a  reform  of  the  Irish  land  laws, 
and  an  ultimate  vision  of  concurrent  endowment  in  Ireland 
for  the  Roman  Church. 

From,  Arch'bisnop  Manning. 

8,  YORK  PLACE,  Feb.  26, 1868. —  The  kindness  and  consideration 
I  have  received  from  you  impels  me  to  convey  to  you  my  sympathy 
at  this  great  crisis  of  your  public  life. 

It  is  my  privilege  to  stand  neutral  between  political  parties,  and 
I  have  been  united,  for  nearly  forty  years,  in  close  personal  friend- 

1868]  THE  IRISH  PROBLEM  7 

ship  with  Mr.  Gladstone;  nevertheless  it  is  a  happiness  to  me  to 
see  you  where  your  public  services  have  justly  placed  you  as  first 
Minister  of  the  Crown,  and  to  add  an  expression  of  my  best 
wishes.  I  trust  you  may  have  health  and  life  to  carry  out  the 
legislation  which,  as  you  one  day  told  me,  you  thought  yourself 
too  old  to  see  realised.  That  is  not  so;  and  the  season  has  set 
in  sooner  than  you  then  looked  for. 

This  letter  needs  no  reply,  but  I  could  not  let  the  moment  pass 
without  assuring  you  of  my  sympathy. 

There  was  undoubtedly  a  certain  disposition  to  look  to 
Disraeli  —  a  statesman  who  had  always  regarded  Ireland  !| 
in  a  spirit  alike  of  detachment  and  of  sympathy  —  for  a 
settlement  of  the  Irish  question.  Early  in  the  session  of 
1866  Bright  had  adjured  both  leaders,  Gladstone  and  Dis- 
raeli, to  lay  aside  their  Parliamentary  rivalry  and  com- 
bine with  this  object;  and  Bernal  Osborne,  shortly  after 
the  formation  of  the  1866  Government,  had  recalled  the 
speech  of  1844  and  urged  that  now  was  the  moment  for 
Disraeli  to  put  in  force  the  policy  then  proclaimed.  The 
successful  settlement  of  the  Reform  difficulty  by  the  method 
of  taking  the  House  as  a  whole  into  council  suggested  that 
the  same  man  and  the  same  method  might  solve  the  still 
more  intractable  problem  of  Ireland.  A  voice  reached 
Disraeli  in  that  sense  from  Australia.  Gavan  Duffy  wrote 
from  Melbourne  on  November  26,  1867,  congratulating  him 
on  his  success  in  his  Herculean  task  of  Reform,  and  urging 
that  there  was  a  '  crowning  work '  for  him  still  to  do. 
*  You  could  give  Ireland  peace,  and,  after  a  little,  prosper- 
ity.' It  was  too  late  for  half-measures. 

A  statesman  must  offer  the  agricultural  classes  terms  which 
a  reasonable  man  may  regard  as  fairly  competing  with  the  terms 
upon  which  he  can  obtain  land  if  he  emigrates  to  America  or 
Australia.  ...  If  the  State  will  buy  up  at  a  reasonable  valuation 
the  waste  lands  now  unproductive,  and  let  them  at  a  rent  yielding 
3  per  cent,  on  the  purchase  money,  and  will  further  enable  the 
more  intelligent  and  industrious  Irish  tenants  on  ordinary  estates 
to  purchase  the  fee  simple  of  their  farms  by  a  series  of  annual 
payments  representing  the  actual  value,  you  will  have  tran- 


quillised  Ireland  for  this  generation.  The  Church  question  and 
the  education  question  will  remain  to  be  dealt  with,  no  doubt, 
but  these  are  the  questions  of  the  educated  minority;  the  uneasy 
classes  are  uneasy  because  of  the  perpetual  uncertainty  of  tenure. 

Subsequent  history  has  shown  that  Gavan  Duffy  wad 
right ;  that  —  putting  the  national  question  aside  —  the 
tenure  of  land  was  the  crux  of  the  Irish  problem,  and 
could  only  be  solved  by  an  extensive  system  of  purchases. 
But  the  t  educated  minority '  of  Roman  Catholics  in  Ire- 
land were  more  vocal  than  the  farmers  and  peasants;  ac- 
cordingly it  was  the  Church  question  and  the  education 
question  which  were  taken  in  hand  at  this  time  by  leaders 
and  parties  in  Parliament,  the  one  by  Gladstone  and  the 
other  by  Disraeli;  though  Disraeli  had  recognised  in  the 
past,  and  Gladstone,  as  his  Irish  researches  proceeded,  was 
to  discover  in  the  future,  the  supreme  importance  of  a 
satisfactory  settlement  of  the  land  question. 

(The  idea  of  Disraeli  and  the  Government  was  to  estab- 
lish in  Dublin  an  institution  which  should  stand  in  relation 
to  the  Roman  Catholics  somewhat  in  the  same  position  that 
Trinity  College  does  to  Protestants.  The  governing  body 
should  entirely  consist  of  Roman  Catholics ;  and  the  teach- 
ing be  mainly  conducted  by  them ;  but  full  security  should 
be  taken  that  no  religious  influence  should  be  brought  to 
bear  on  students  who  belonged  to  another  faith.  Five  pre- 
lates, together  with  the  President  of  Maynooth,  were  to  be 
put  on  the  governing  body,  the  senate ;  but  there  was  to  be  a 
strong  lay  element  in  its  constitution,  and  the  Government 
contemplated  the  appointment  of  a  layman  as  the  first 
Chancellor.  The  State  would  pay  the  establishment  charges 
of  the  new  University,  but  the  general  question  of  State 
endowment  would  be  postponed.  This  scheme,  in  general 
terms,  had  Manning's  approval;  and,  from  his  assurances, 
Disraeli  had  reason  to  hope  that  it  would  be  accepted  in 
substance  by  the  Irish  Bishops.  Accordingly,  after  its 
promulgation  on  March  10  by  Mayo  in  the  House  of  Com- 


mons  —  where,  though  scoffed  at  by  Bright  as  a  pill  good 
against  the  earthquake,  it  was  received  with  benignity  both 
by  Chichester  Fortescue  on  behalf  of  the  official  Liberals 
and  by  Monsell  on  behalf  of  the  Roman  Catholic  laity  —  it 
was  submitted  to  Archbishop  Leahy  and  Bishop  Derry,  the 
appointed  representatives  of  the  hierarchy.  Unfortunately, 
their  attitude  was  widely  different  from  what  the  Govern- 
ment had  been  led  to  expect.  They  demanded  the  submis- 
sion of  the  new  University  to  episcopal  guidance.  The 
Chancellor,  they  claimed,  must  always  be  a  prelate,  and 
Cardinal  Cullen  ought  to  be  the  first  Chancellor.  General 
control  must  not  rest  with  the  senate  as  a  whole,  a  pre- 
ponderatingly  lay  body,  but  with  its  episcopal  members. 
These  prelates  must  have  an  absolute  veto  on  the  books 
included  in  the  University  programme,  and  on  the  first 
nomination  of  the  professors,  lecturers,  and  other  officers; 
and  must  also  have  the  power  of  depriving  such  teachers 
of  their  offices,  should  they  be  judged  by  their  Bishops  to 
have  done  anything  contrary  to  faith  and  morals. 

Claims  of  this  kind  were  so  preposterous  that  the  whole 
scheme  had  to  be  relinquished.  Dr.  Leahy  and  Dr.  Derry 
were  not  men  of  affairs,  and  it  has  been  suggested  —  and 
may  well  be  true  —  that  they  asked  for  twice  as  much  as 
they  were  prepared  to  take,  and  were  astonished  when  the 
Government  abandoned  the  negotiation  as  hopeless.  But 
it  is  difficult  not  to  connect  the  extremist  attitude  of  the 
Irish  negotiators  with  the  development  of  Gladstone's  policy 
of  disestablishment  The  preliminary  reply  of  the  Bishops 
was  dated  M#rch  19,  three  days  after  Gladstone's  announce- 
ment that  the  Irish  Church,  '  as  a  State  Church,  must  cease 
to  exist.'  The  final  reply,  expressing  the  episcopal  views  in 
detail,  was  dated  March  31,  after  Gladstone  had  tabled  his 
famous  Resolutions,  and  while  the  debate  on  them  in  the 
House  of  Commons  was  in  progress.  Until  Gladstone's 
announcement  Manning  was  still  active  on  behalf  of  the 
scheme ;  but  his  last  letter  to  Disraeli  was  dated  on  the  very 


day  (March  16)  when  the  announcement  was  made.  From 
that  moment  he  ceased  all  communication  with  the  Prime 
Minister  till  the  close  of  the  Government  in  December, 
when  he  excused  himself  as  follows : 

From  Archbishop  Manning. 

8,  YORK  PLACE,  W.,  Dec.  2,  1868.—.  .  .  I  have  felt  that  a  ra- 
vine, I  will  not  say  a  gulf,  opened  between  us  when  the  Resolu- 
tions on  the  Irish  Church  were  laid  upon  the  Table  of  the  House. 
I  regretted  this,  as  I  had  hoped  to  see  the  scheme  of  the  Catholic 
•University  happily  matured;  but  with  my  inevitable  conviction 
as  to  the  Irish  Church  I  felt  that  I  ought  not  to  trespass  upon 
your  kindness,  which  I  can  assure  you  I  shall  remember  with 
much  pleasure.  .  .  . 

It  is  not  unnatural  that  Disraeli  should  have  felt  that  he 
had  been  treated  shabbily  by  the  representatives  of  the 
Roman  Catholics,  and  especially  by  Manning.  He  said 
on  more  than,  one  occasion  to  Roman  Catholic  friends  that 
he  had  been  stabbed  in  the  back.  Manning's  defence,  when 
he  heard  the  accusation,  was  that  the  University  negotia- 
tions *  were  entirely  taken  out  of  my  hands  by  the  Bishops 
who  corresponded  with  you,  and  in  a  sense  at  variance  with 
my  judgment  and  advice.'  Had  he  been  left  free  to  act, 
he  maintained  that  he  would  have  been  successful ;  and  he 
averred  that  he  had  never  ceased  to  regret  the  failure  of 
his  efforts.1 

Whatever  the  degree  of  Manning's  responsibility,  the 
facts  and  dates  suggest  that  the  Roman  Catholic  author- 
ities were  diverted  from  adhesion  to  Disraeli's  programme 
by  Gladstone's  superior  bid.  It  was  impossible  to  resist 
the  temptation  of  wreaking  vengeance  on  the  Anglican 
Church,  though  in  the  result  they  got  nothing  of  the  Church 
revenues,  nor  even,  till  after  forty  years,  the  Catholic  Uni- 
versity which  was  within  their  grasp;  and  the  temporal 
power  of  the  Pope,  the  importance  of  which  to  Roman  Catho- 

i  Letter  from  Manning  to  Disraeli,  dated  Rome,  May  7,  1870.  Man- 
ning cited,  as  a  witness  to  the  accuracy  of  his  account,  Cashel  Hoey, 
a  well-known  Irish  journalist. 


lies  Disraeli  alone  among  British  statesmen  appreciated, 
perished  a  couple  of  years  later,  in  1870. 

Gladstone  allowed  the  new  Government  no  close  time, 
but,  like  a  capable  general,  took  the  offensive  at  once. 
Derby's  resignation  and  Disraeli's  appointment  as  his  suc- 
cessor were  announced  in  both  Houses  on  Tuesday,  February 
25;  on  Thursday,  March  5,  after  nine  days'  adjournment, 
Disraeli  and  his  colleagues  presented  themselves  to  Parlia- 
ment and  made  their  Ministerial  profession  of  faith;  only 
five  days  later,  on  Tuesday,  March  10,  came  a  debate  on  the 
Irish  question  initiated  by  an  Irish  member,  and  the  Chief 
Secretary's  exposition  of  policy;  and  on  the  last  night  of 
that  debate,  Monday,  March  16,  less  than  three  weeks  after 
Disraeli's  acceptance  of  office,  Gladstone  launched  the  new 
policy  of  the  Liberal  party,  the  immediate  disestablishment 
and  disendowment  of  the  Irish  Church.  It  was  Gladstone's 
most  brilliant  and  successful  stroke  as  a  party  leader.  The 
settlement  of  the  Reform  question  by  Disraeli's  statesman- 
ship had  deprived  the  Liberals  of  the  popular  cry  which 
they  had  for  long  utilised  at  elections,  if  they  forgot  it  in 
Parliament.  If  no  new  cry  were  raised,  there  was  a  fear 
lest  the  working  man  might  be  disposed  to  vote,  not  for 
those  who  had  often  promised  but  failed  to  perform,  but  for 
those  who  had  actually  given  him  the  franchise.  The  Irish 
Church  was  in  a  very  weak  position,  and  could  not  long  be 
left  untouched;  it  was,  at  this  very  time,  undergoing  in- 
vestigation by  a  Commission  which  the  Government  had 
appointed  in  the  previous  year.  It  claimed,  indeed,  to  be, 
like  the  Church  of  England,  the  historical  representative  of 
the  ancient  Church  of  the  country ;  and  its  maintenance,  as 
an  establishment  united  to  its  sister  Church,  was  one  of  the 
provisions  by  which  the  assent  of  the  then  dominant  Protes- 
tants in  Ireland  was  secured  for  the  Act  of  Union.  But, 
though  it  was  the  Church  of  the  ruling  classes,  it  had  failed 
to  win  the  affections  of  the  people.  More  than  three-quar- 
ters of  the  total  population  were  Roman  Catholics,  and  of 
the  remainder  nearly  a  half  were  Presbyterians.  The 


Church  of  Ireland  ministered  to  only  about  one-eighth  of 
the  people  of  Ireland.  Moreover,  it  was  Evangelical  in  its 
tendencies,  and  had  been  very  little  affected  by  the  Tracta- 
rian  development.  Here  was  an  institution  the  attack  upon 
which  would  rally  to  the  Liberal  banner  Roman  Catholics, 
Liberal  Anglicans,  Dissenters  and  Secularists,  Whigs  jeal- 
ous of  ecclesiastical  power,  and  Radicals  hostile  to  corporate 
property.  Besides,  a  policy  of  disestablishment  and  dis- 
endowment  gave  a  great  opportunity  for  specious  electioneer- 
ing cries  calculated  to  attract  the  new  voter :  '  religious 
equality,'  '  justice  to  Ireland.' 

How  were  the  Government,  how  were  the  Conservative 
party,  to  meet  it?  The  Prime  Minister,  nearly  a  quarter 
of  a  century  before,  had  declared  that  an  '  alien  Church ' 
was  one  of  Ireland's  legitimate  grievances.  He  had  re- 
fused to  respond  to  Derby's  urgent  requests  that  he  should 
speak  on  its  behalf  in  Parliament,  and  had  written  to  him 
shortly  after  the  General  Election :  '  I  do  not  think  that 
any  general  resolution  respecting  the  Irish  Church  could  be 
successfully  withstood  in  the  present  Parliament.  It  is  a 
very  unpopular  cause,  even  with  many  of  our  best  men.' 1 
On  the  other  hand,  the  party  which  Disraeli  led  was  es- 
sentially the  defender  of  the  Church  of  England,  and  had 
been  especially  mobilised  by  himself  in  its  defence.  More- 
over, any  loosening  of  the  bond  between  religion  and  the 
State  was  repugnant  to  all  his  theocratic  ideas.  One  sec- 
tion of  the  Cabinet,  headed  by  Hardy,  and  powerfully  sup- 
ported by  Derby  from  without,  desired  that  high  ground 
should  be  taken  and  the  proposal  denounced  as  sacrilege; 
or,  if  unity  could  not  be  preserved  on  those  lines,  at  least 
that  a  strong  passive  resistance  should  be  offered  to  change. 
Another  section,  in  which  Stanley  and  Pakington  were  con- 
spicuous, was  ready  to  accept  disestablishment  as  inevitable, 
and  desired  to  concentrate  on  liberal  treatment  of  the  dis- 
established Church  together  with  a  utilisation  of  surplus 
revenues  for  the  benefit  of  Roman  Catholics. 

i  See  Vol.  IV.,  pp.  405,  406,  425,  426. 

1868]  DERBY'S  VIEWS  13 

From  Lord  Derby. 

Confidential.  KNOWSLEY,  March  3, 1868. —  Anxious  as  I  am  for 
the  permanence  of  your  Government,  I  cannot  refrain  from  ex- 
pressing my  apprehensions  as  to  the  forthcoming  discussions  upon 
the  Irish  questions.  .  .  . 

Your  real  difficulty  will  arise  when  you  come  to  deal  with  the 
Established  Church.  You  know  that  I  have  always  entertained 
a  very  strong  opinion  adverse  to  the  right  of  Parliament  to  alien- 
ate any  part  of  the  property  of  that  or  of  any  other  corporation, 
and  this  was  the  main  ground  of  our  successful  opposition  to  the 
Appropriation  Clause,  the  ohject  of  which  was  to  convert  to  secu- 
lar purposes  any  surplus,  over  and  above  what  might  he  deemed 
requisite  for  the  maintenance  of  the  establishment.  It  seems  to 
be  generally  assumed  that  this  principle  is  no  longer  tenable ;  but 
the  moment  you  depart  from  it,  you  will  find  yourself  involved  in 
inextricable  difficulty.  The  obvious  course  would  appear  to  be,  at 
all  events,  to  wait  for  the  report  of  the  Commission  which  we 
issued  last  year;  but  Stanley  says,  though  I  do  not  agree  with 
him,  that  Parliament  will  not,  and  Gladstone  says  that  it  shall 
not,  admit  that  ground  for  postponement  of  legislation.  In  my 
opinion,  however,  the  safest  course  for  the  Government  will  be 
to  abstain  from  making  any  proposition  whatever.  .  .  .  The  diffi- 
culties of  this  question  are  such  that  I  am  convinced  your  safety 
is  to  sit  still,  and,  instead  of  showing  your  hand,  to  compel  your 
adversaries  to  exhibit  theirs,  with  all  their  discrepancies  and  con- 
tradictions. .  .  . 

To  Lord  Derby. 

10,  DOWNING  STREET,  March  4,  1868. — .  .  .  We  have  discussed 
our  Irish  policy  for  two  days,  and  have  arrived  at  conclusions 
which  are  very  much  in  unison  with  your  suggestions  —  to  bring 
in  a  Land  Bill,  which  will  deal  with  all  those  points  of  the  contro- 
versy on  which  there  begins  to  be  a  concurrence  of  opinion ;  and 
with  respect  to  the  others,  to  propose  another  Devon  Commission. 

The  famine  and  State  emigration  have  happened  since  the  la- 
bors of  that  inquiry,  and  we  think  that  such  a  body  of  evidence 
will  be  collected  as  to  the  present  improved  state  of  the  country 
that  a  great  effect  may  be  produced  on  public  opinion. 

The  Cabinet  adopted  unanimously  the  University  scheme  which 
you  had  approved. 

With  regard  to  the  great  difficulty  and  the  real  danger,  the 
Church,  although  there  was  great  difference  of  opinion  in  the 
Cabinet  on  the  merits  of  the  question,  there  was  unanimity  that  it 


ought  not  to  be  treated  except  in  a  new  Parliament;  and  also 
that  no  pledge  should  be  given  of  maintaining  absolutely  un- 
changed the  present  state  of  ecclesiastical  affairs.  .  .  . 

Disraeli  was  not  likely  to  overlook  one  obvious  method 
of  contributing  to  the  tranquillisation  of  Ireland  —  the 
presence  of  royalty  in  that  country.  Like  other  Ministers, 
before  and  after  his  time,  he  was  hampered  by  the  un- 
fortunate reluctance  of  Queen  Victoria  either  to  go  to 
Ireland  herself  or  to  permit  members  of  her  family  to  go. 
No  doubt  the  disturbed  state  of  the  country  gave  some 
reason  for  anxiety  in  case  of  a  royal  visit,  but  both  the 
Lord-Lieutenant  and  the  Chief  Secretary,  Abercorn  and 
Mayo,  each  of  them  an  Irishman  with  a  wide  knowledge  of 
Irish  feeling,  urged  the  great  advantage  of  a  visit  from  the 
Prince  of  Wales;  and  the  representations  of  Disraeli  at 
length  prevailed  to  secure  Her  Majesty's  consent. 

To  Lord  Derby. 

Confidential.  10,  DOWNING  STREET,  March  9,  1868. — .  .  .  The 
Prince  of  Wales  is  to  pay  a  visit  to  Ireland  at  Easter.  This  af- 
fair has  given  me  much  trouble.  They  invited  the  Prince  without 
the  previous  consent  of  Her  Majesty,  and  the  occasion  chosen  for 
eliciting  the  loyal  feeling  of  Ireland  was  a  princely  visit  to  some 
races  at  a  place  with  the  unfortunate  title  of  Punchestown,  or 
something  like  it.  The  Queen  did  not  approve  of  the  occasion,  or 
a  state  visit  agreed  to  without  her  authority;  and  the  matter  ap- 
peared to  me,  at  one  time,  more  serious  than  the  Irish  Church, 
but  with  much  correspondence  and  the  loyal  assistance  of  General 
Grey,  whose  conduct  is  really  admirable,  I  think  we  have  got  all 
right.  Lords  Abercorn  and  Mayo  are  pardoned,  and,  I  hope,  the 
Prince;  and,  if  my  humble  suggestion  be  adopted,  the  inaugura- 
tion of  H.R.H.  as  a  Knight  of  St.  Patrick,  in  the  renovated  cathe- 
dral, will  be  an  adequate  occasion  for  the  royal  visit,  and  a  more 
suitable  and  stately  cause  than  a  race,  however  national. 

Stanley  did  more  than  well  about  Alabama;  strengthened  the 
Government.  He  gives  me  daily  good  accounts  of  you,  which  are 
agreeable  to  your  devoted  D. 

The  Irish  Government  would  have  liked  to  follow  up 
the  Prince's  visit  by  the  establishment  of  a  permanent 


royal  residence  in  Ireland.     But  on  this  point  the  resistance 
of  the  Queen  could  not  be  overcome. 

From  Sir  John  PaTcington. 

Confidential.  52,  GROSVENOR  PLACE,  S.W.,  March  14, 1868. —  Is 
it  not  still  possible  that  you  may  suggest  in  your  speech  a  com- 
promise on  the  Church  question,  which  may  at  least  diminish  the 
effect  of  any  move  on  the  opposite  side?  It  is  clear  that  a  state 
of  affairs  which  no  one  ventures  to  defend  cannot  be  main- 

I  think  we  may  consent  to  disestablishment,  but  we  cannot  con- 
sent to  disendowment.  Hardy  hinted  that  any  surplus  may  be 
dealt  with.  May  not  this  hint  be  pushed  further,  and  an  outline 
be  sketched  for  (1)  disestablishing;  (2)  insuring  a  surplus  by  re- 
ducing the  provision  for  the  Church  to  the  minimum  of  her  real 
requirements;  (3)  devoting  the  surplus  to  providing  glebes,  par- 
sonages, and  good  churches  for  the  R.  Cs. ;  (4)  extending  the  pow- 
ers of  the  Commission,  if  necessary,  to  arrange  the  details  of  such 
a  plan  ? 

You  will  excuse  the  zeal  which  offers  a  suggestion  to  one  who 
so  little  needs  it. 

The  opinions  expressed  in  the  Irish  debate,  which  lasted 
four  days,1  were  very  various,  but  the  Liberals,  Radicals, 
and  Irish  brigade  all  united  in  demanding  the  disestablish- 
ment of  the  Church  as  the  first  step.  This  policy  united 
Lowe  and  Bright,  Mill  and  Chichester  Fortescue,  Horsman 
and  Monsell.  The  Government  speakers  ridiculed  the  idea 
that  confiscation  could  be  the  proper  way  to  start  a  healing 
policy.  But  the  Chief  Secretary  disclaimed  a  merely  nega- 
tive attitude  on  the  part  of  Irish  Protestants,  and  hinted  that 
levelling  upwards  and  not  downwards  was  the  proper  course. 
Gladstone  dismissed  the  Government  policy  for  Ireland  as 
inadequate,  though  he  agreed  that  the  Roman  Catholic  griev- 
ance about  University  education  ought  to  be  remedied.  But 
the  Irish  Church  must  first  be  dealt  with,  and  must,  as  an 
establishment,  cease  to  exist.  He  brushed  aside  the  idea 
of  waiting  till  the  Commission  then  sitting  had  reported.  If 
the  Government  would  not  move,  the  Opposition  must  not 

i  March  10,  12,  13,  and  16. 


be  content  with  an  empty  declaration  of  opinion,  but  must 
proceed  to  act. 

Disraeli  began  happily  by  contrasting  the  apathy  and  in- 
difference on  this  question  shown  by  Gladstone  and  his 
friends  when  in  office,  and  their  discovery  of  its  instant  im- 
portance when  in  opposition.  ( I  could  not  but  feel/  he 
said,  *  that  I  was  the  most  unfortunate  of  Ministers,  since 
at  the  moment  when  I  arrived,  by  Her  Majesty's  gracious 
favour,  at  the  position  I  now  fill,  a  controversy  which  had 
lasted  for  700  years  had  reached  its  culminating  point,  and 
I  was  immediately  called  upon  with  my  colleagues  to  pro- 
duce measures  equal  to  such  a  supernatural  exigency.'  He 
defended  the  Irish  policy  of  the  Government  as  being  one  of 
dealing  with  all  such  points  as  were  by  general  agreement 
sufficiently  advanced  for  legislation,  and  referring  to  Com- 
missions only  those  matters  which  were  not  ripe  for  decision. 
To  suggest  that  the  object  was  delay  was  '  the  lees  and 
refuse  of  factious  insinuation.'  He  admitted  that  the  Irish 
Church  was  not  in  the  condition  in  which  he  could  wish  to 
see  a  national  Church;  but  he  dwelt  earnestly  on  the  im- 
portance of  connecting  the  principle  of  religion  with  gov- 
ernment, otherwise  political  authority  would  become  a 
mere  affair  of  police.  If  religion  and  government  were  to 
be  associated,  endowment  was  inevitable.  The  Irish, 
whether  Presbyterian,  Anglican,  or  Roman,  were  essen- 
tially a  religious  people,  and  therefore  in  favour  of  ecclesi- 
astical endowments.  This  great  principle  was  at  stake,  and 
Parliament  had  no  moral  competence  to  deal  with  it  till 
after  an  appeal  to  the  nation  —  an  appeal  which  the  Govern- 
ment were  prepared  to  hasten.  He  pointed,  as  Mayo  had, 
to  some  form  of  concurrent  endowment.  The  moment  had 
arrived,  he  said,  when  there  must  be  a  considerable  change 
in  the  condition  of  the  unendowed  clergy  of  Ireland  which 
would  elevate  their  influence.  But  he  did  not  mean  what 
was  vulgarly  called  l  paying  the  priests,'  and  so  making 
them  stipendiaries  of  the  State,  of  which  he  strongly  dis- 


He  did  not  shrink  from  meeting  the  challenge  which  had 
been  thrown  down  to  him  to  reconcile  his  present  attitude 
with  his  famous  dictum  in  1844  about  a  starving  population, 
an  absentee  aristocracy,  and  an  alien  Church. 

With  reference  to  that  passage  which  has  been  quoted  from  a 
speech  made  by  me,  I  may  remark  that  it  appeared  to  me  at  the 
time  I  made  it  that  nobody  listened  to  it.  It  seemed  to  me  that  I 
was  pouring  water  upon  sand,  but  it  seems  now  that  the  water 
came  from  a  golden  goblet.  With  regard  to  the  passage  from 
that  speech  there  are  many  remarks  which,  if  I  wanted  to  vin- 
dicate or  defend  myself,  I  might  legitimately  make.  I  might  re- 
mind the  House  that  that  speech  was  made  before  the  famine  and 
the  emigration  from  Ireland,  and  the  whole  of  that  passage  about 
the  starving  people  and  the  amount  of  population  to  the  square 
mile  no  longer  applies.  I  might  remark  that  that  speech  was 
made  before  the  change  in  locomotion  and  the  sale  of  a  large  por- 
tion of  the  soil  of  Ireland,  which  has  established  a  resident  pro- 
prietary instead  of  an  absentee  aristocracy,  though,  so  far  as  I 
can  collect,  the  absentee  aristocracy  seems  more  popular  than  the 
resident  proprietary.  All  this  I  might  say,  but  I  do  not  care  to 
say  it,  and  I  do  not  wish  to  say  it,  because  in  my  conscience  the 
sentiment  of  that  speech  was  right.  It  may  have  been  expressed 
with  the  heedless  rhetoric  which,  I  suppose,  is  the  appanage  of 
all  who  sit  below  the  gangway ;  but  in  my  historical  conscience  the 
sentiment  of  that  speech  was  right. 

Disraeli's  speech  pleased  his  colleagues  and  impressed  the 
House  of  Commons.  Hardy  was  struck  by  its  skill  and 
humorousness  as  opposed  to  Gladstone's  extravagant  vio- 
lence. Cairns  wrote :  '  I  doubt  if  anything,  at  once  so  diffi- 
cult and  so  perfect,  was  accomplished  even  by  yourself.  The 
issue  on  which  you  have  placed  our  policy  with  Gladstone 
is  excellent.'  Lennox  reported  Lowe  and  Henry  Cowper 
as  being  both  decidedly  of  opinion  that  Disraeli  had  the 
best  of  it  in  his  duel  with  Gladstone.  But  the  speech,  in 
view  both  of  the  divisions  in  the  Cabinet  and  of  Disraeli's 
strong  feeling,  in  his  '  historical  conscience,'  of  the  anoma- 
lous position  of  the  Irish  Church,  was  rather  a  debating  an- 
swer to  Gladstone  than  a  definite  statement  of  policy ;  and 
the  Prime  Minister  felt  the  necessity  of  deciding  promptly 


on  some  line  of  action  on  which  he  could  hope  to  secure  the 
united  support  of  his  colleagues.  He  accordingly  outlined 
during  the  next  few  days  to  Cairns,  who  as  an  Irish  Protes- 
tant was  specially  interested  in  the  question,  the  policy 
which,  with  certain  modifications,  was  eventually  adopted 
by  the  Cabinet. 

To  Lord  Cairns. 

Secret.  10,  DOWNING  STREET,  March  19,  1868. —  I  wish  very 
much  to  confer  with  you,  but  as  that  is,  I  suppose,  impossible,  I 
must  endeavor,  without  loss  of  time,  to  convey  to  you  my  present 
impressions  as  to  the  critical  position  at  which  not  only  the  Cab- 
inet, but  the  country,  has  now  arrived. 

I  assume,  from  what  reaches  me,  that  Gladstone  and  his  party 
will  now  propose  the  disestablishment  of  the  Irish  Church. 

He  seems  to  me  to  have  raised  a  clear  and  distinct  issue.  I 
don't  think  we  could  wish  it  better  put. 

I  think  we  ought  to  bold  that  the  whole  question  of  national 
establishments  is  now  raised ;  that  the  Irish  Church  is  but  a  small 
portion  of  the  question;  and  that  those  who  wish  to  demolish  it 
must  be  held  to  desire  the  abolition  of  national  establishments  in 
the  three  kingdoms. 

But  we  must  detach  the  Irish  Church  as  much  as  possible  from 
the  prominent  portion  of  the  subject,  for,  there  is  no  doubt,  it  is 
not  popular. 

I  tbink,  if  the  principle  that  the  State  should  adopt  and  uphold 
religion  as  an  essential  portion  of  the  Constitution  be  broadly 
raised,  a  great  number  of  members  from  the  north  of  England  and 
Scotland,  called  Liberals,  would  be  obliged  to  leave  the  philosophic 

I  am,  therefore,  at  present  inclined  to  an  amendment  which, 
while  it  admitted  that  the  present  condition  of  the  Church  in  Ire- 
land was  susceptible  of  improvement,  while  it  might  be  desirable 
to  elevate  the  status  of  the  unendowed  clergy  of  that  country,  still 
declared  it  was  the  first  duty  of  the  State  to  acknowledge  and 
maintain  the  religious  principle  in  an  established  form,  etc. 

All  this  is  very  rough  writing,  and  the  amendment  would  re- 
quire the  utmost  thought  and  precision.  What  I  want  at  present 
to  do  is  to  call  your  immediate  thought  to  the  situation.  It  has 
come  on  us  like  a  thief  in  the  night.  It  is  useless  to  launch  such 
thoughts,  as  I  suggest,  in  an  unprepared  Cabinet.  You  and  I 
must  settle  all  this  together,  and  then  speak  to  one  or  two  leading 
spirits ;  but  it  is  quite  on  the  cards  that  we  may  have  to  take  our 
course  on  Saturday  in  Cabinet. 


There  ought  to  be  no  faltering  on  my  part  in  that  case;  there- 
fore I  beg  your  earnest  and  devoted  attention  to  all  this.  We 
are  on  the  eve  of  great  events,  and  we  ought  to  show  ourselves 
equal  to  them. 

To  Sir  Anthony  de  Rothschild. 

10,  DOWNING  STREET,  March  19,  1868. —  You  sent  me  some 
good  stuff  to  keep  up  my  spirits  in  the  great  battles  at  hand; 
so,  if  I  beat  my  enemies,  the  '  great  Liberal  party '  will  owe  their 
discomfiture  to  your  burgundy! 

Would  you  like  to  be  Lord  Lieutenant  of  the  county?  If 
so,  you  must  return  me  at  least  six  members.  That's  the  quota 
for  such  a  distinction.  My  love  to  your  wife. 

To  Lord  Derby. 

10,  DOWNING  STREET,  March  21,  1868. —  I  have  been  intending, 
and  expecting,  to  write  to  you  every  day  announcing  the  hostile 
motion,  and  requesting  your  advice  on  it;  but  it  has  been  delayed 
so  long  that  I  am  almost  in  hopes  you  may  reach  London  before 
it  is  made  public.  We  had  anticipated  considering  it  in  Cabinet 
to-day,  but,  as  you  have  observed,  it  was  postponed  last  night, 
and  the  House  was  favored  only  with  a  notice  that  a  notice 
would  be  given.  Something  new  in  Parliament!  We  have, 
however,  spent  two  hours  and  a  half  in  the  old  room,  from  which 
I  have  just  escaped  to  send  you  this  line  to  let  you  know  how 
we  all  were.  We  did  a  good  deal  of  business,  but  nothing  very 
striking  except  settling  our  Bill  for  the  purchase  of  the  tele- 
graphs of  the  United  Kingdom. 

A  person  of  authority,  and  a  social  friend  of  Gladstone's, 
told  me  yesterday  that  his  present  violent  courses  are  entirely 
to  be  attributed  to  the  paralytic  stroke  of  the  Bishop  of  Win- 
chester.1 Until  that  happened  G.  was  quiet  and  temperate,  and 
resisted  all  the  anti-Church  overtures  of  the  advanced  party. 
But  when  this  calamity  happened  to  the  worthy  prelate  Gladstone 
became  disturbed  and  restless,  and  finally  adopted  a  more  violent 
course  even  than  his  friends  had  originally  suggested.  Strange 
that  a  desire  to  make  Bishops  should  lead  a  man  to  destroy 
Churches ! 

I  hope  Lady  Derby  is  well,  and  that  your  followers  will  soon 
see  you.  Your  very  tired  but  devoted  D. 

Gladstone's  Resolutions,  though  they  were  not  ready  so 
soon  as  Disraeli  anticipated,  were  not  delayed  beyond  a 

i  Sumner. 


week,  being  laid  on  the  table  of  tbe  House  on  Monday, 
March  23.  They  were  three  in  number.  The  first  affirmed 
the  necessity  of  immediate  disestablishment;  the  second  the 
desirability  of  preventing  the  creation  of  fresh  interests  in 
the  Irish  Church;  the  third  proposed  an  address  to  the 
Queen  asking  her  to  place  her  interest  in  the  temporalities 
of  the  Church  at  the  disposal  of  Parliament.  Disraeli  im- 
mediately put  forth  his  reply  in  the  shape  of  a  letter  to 
Lord  Dartmouth,  who  had  forwarded  to  him  a  Conserva- 
tive memorial  expressing  confidence  in  his  leadership.  In 
it  he  followed  the  line  laid  down  in  the  letter  to  Cairns, 
insisting  that  there  was  a  *  crisis  in  England '  rather  than 
in  Ireland ;  '  for  the  purpose  is  now  avowed,  and  that  by  a 
powerful  party,  of  destroying  that  sacred  union  between 
Church  and  State  which  has  hitherto  been  the  chief  means 
of  our  civilisation  and  is  the  only  security  of  our  religious 

The  Queen  was  greatly  disturbed  by  Gladstone's  pro- 
ceedings, but  with  true  statesmanship  was  very  anxious  to 
avoid  raising  a  religious  issue. 

From  Queen  Victoria. 

WINDSOR  CASTLE,  March  24,  1868. —  The  Queen  has  read  Mr. 
Disraeli's  account  of  Mr.  Gladstone's  proposed  Resolutions  with 
the  deepest  concern.  She  fears  there  is  but  too  much  truth  in 
what  Mr.  Disraeli  says  of  the  spirit  that  may  possibly  be  excited 
amongst  the  Protestants  of  the  three  kingdoms,  and  of  the  danger 
that  exists  of  those  old  cries  being  revived  which,  in  the  name 
of  religion,  have  worked  evils  which  successive  Governments 
have  so  long  tried  in  vain  to  remedy.  Mr.  Gladstone  must  be 
aware  that  the  chief  difficulty  in  governing  Ireland  has  always 
been  to  restrain  the  mutual  violence  of  the  old  Orange  party  on 
the  one  side,  and  of  the  Roman  Catholics  on  the  other;  and  he 
might,  the  Queen  thinks,  to  say  the  least,  have  paused  before 
he  made  a  declaration,  of  which  the  only  effect  will  certainly  be 
to  revive  and  influence  the  old  sectarian  feuds  and  to  render 
the  administration  of  Ireland  more  difficult. 

The  Queen  trusts,  however,  to  her  Government,  and  especially 
to  Mr.  Disraeli,  carefully  to  avoid  saying  anything,  however 
great  the  provocation  may  be  to  act  otherwise,  that  can  tend  to 


encourage  a  spirit  of  retaliation  amongst  the  Protestants  or  to 
revive  old  religious  animosities.  It  seems  to  her  essentially  a 
state  of  things  in  which  her  Ministers  will  deserve  and  receive 
the  support  of  all  who  look  to  what  is  really  for  the  good  of  the 
country  if  they  show  moderation  and  forbearance  in  meeting  this 
attack,  and  studiously  avoid  taking  a  course  which,  though  it 
might  give  them  a  party  advantage  for  the  moment,  would  surely 
be  injurious  to  the  permanent  interests  of  the  Empire. 

In  view  of  their  internal  disagreement,  the  Cabinet  de- 
termined to  meet  Gladstone's  motion  to  go  into  Committee 
on  his  Resolutions  by  a  temporising  amendment  to  be  moved 
by  Stanley,  which,  while  admitting  that  considerable  modi- 
fications in  Irish  Church  temporalities  might  be  expedient, 
declared  that  the  decision  of  the  question  should  be  left  to 
a  new  Parliament.  It  was  an  eminently  reasonable  proposi- 
tion, but  naturally,  as  it  avoided  the  issue  of  principle,  was 
not  combative  enough  to  satisfy  Derby,  who  wrote  to  Disraeli 
on  March  25 :  '  It  seems  to  me  in  the  right  sense,  but  it 
implies  rather  more  of  concession  than  pleases  me;  for  the 
expression  "  without  prejudging  the  question  of  considerable 
modifications,  etc.,"  appears  practically  to  prejudge  the 
question  to  an  extent  which  will  not  satisfy  your  Protestant 
friends,  and  I  shall  be  rather  nervous  as  to  Stanley's  mode 
of  handling  the  subject.'  Derby's  nervousness  was  justi- 
fied ;  Stanley's  mode  of  handling  his  subject  dismayed  and 
disorganised  his  party.  Even  Cairns  found  him  '  colour- 
less and  chilling,'  while  Hardy  in  his  diary  pungently  de- 
scribed his  speech  as  ( the  cry  of  a  whipped  hound.'  Cran- 
borne  seized  the  opportunity  to  make  an  attack,  in  Hardy's 
words,  '  sneering  as  regards  us  all ;  venomous  and  remorse- 
less against  Disraeli.'  He  went  so  far  as  to  suggest  that, 
having  betrayed  the  party  over  household  suffrage,  Disraeli 
was  preparing  to  betray  them  once  more  over  the  Irish 
Church,  Stanley's  '  Delphic '  amendment  being  the  first 
step  in  a  policy  of  disestablishment.  Hardy  made  a  spirited 
reply  to  this  malicious  outburst,  quoted  recent  letters  and 
speeches  to  show  the  suddenness  of  Gladstone's  conversion, 


and  defended  the  Irish  Church  and  the  principle  of  estab- 
lishment and  endowment  in  eloquent  terms.  All  the  leaders 
took  part  in  the  debate.1  Gladstone  endeavoured  to  vin- 
dicate his  consistency,  and  asserted  that  the  Church  of  Eng- 
land would  be  benefitted  and  not  injured  by  being  severed 
from  a  communion  with  what  was  politically  dangerous  and 
socially  unjust.  Lowe  gave  Liberals  the  catchword,  '  Cut 
it  down ;  why  cumbereth  it  the  ground  ? ' 

Disraeli  had  no  difficulty,  in  his  reply,  in  vindicating  the 
reasonableness  of  Stanley's  amendment.  The  Government 
could  not  meet  Gladstone's  motion  with  a  direct  negative,  as 
they  thought  some  modification  would  be  necessary.  They 
held,  moreover,  that,  when  a  fundamental  law  of  the  coun- 
try was  attacked,  Parliament  was  not  morally  competent 
to  decide  the  question,  unless  some  intimation  had  been  given 
to  the  constituency  which  elected  it.  Once  again,  as  on 
the  third  reading  of  the  Reform  Bill,  Disraeli  dealt  with 
the  virulent  attacks  made  on  him  by  Cranborne  and  Lowe. 
The  former  he  let  off  comparatively  lightly.  He  recog- 
nised the  vigour  and  vindictiveness  of  his  invective,  but 
thought,  as  a  critic,  that,  in  spite  of  all  the  study  which 
Cranborne  had  given  to  the  subject,  it  lacked  finish.2  He 
turned  to  Lowe,  Cranborne's  '  echo '  from  the  Liberal  side. 

When  the  bark  is  heard  on  this  side,  the  right  hon.  member 
for  Calne  emerges,  I  will  not  say  from  his  cave,  but  perhaps 
from  a  more  cynical  habitation.  He  joins  immediately  in  the 
chorus  of  reciprocal  malignity,  and  'hails  with  horrid  melody 
the  moon.'  .  .  .  The  right  hon.  member  for  Calne  is  a  very 
remarkable  man.  He  is  a  learned  man,  though  he  despises 
history.  He  can  chop  logic  like  Dean  Aldrich ;  but  what  is  more 
remarkable  than  his  learning  and  his  logic  is  that  power  of 
spontaneous  aversion  which  particularises  him.  There  is  noth- 

1  March  30  and  31,  April  2  and  3. 

2  This  was  the  last  encounter  between  Cranborne  and  Disraeli  in 
the    Commons.     During   the    Easter    recess    Disraeli's    old    colleague, 
Salisbury,  died,  and  Cranborne  succeeded  to  the  title.     Father  and  son 
had   been    reconciled,   and   Salisbury  had   even   espoused   Cranborne's 
quarrel  with  Disraeli,  who,  however,  was  able  to  write  to  Stanley  on 
April  15:     'I  am  glad  that  Lord  Salisbury  shook  hands  with  me  cor- 
dially before  he  died.' 


ing  that  he  likes,  and  almost  everything  that  he  hates.  He  hates 
the  working  classes  of  England.  He  hates  the  Roman  Catholics 
of  Ireland.  He  hates  the  Protestants  of  Ireland.  He  hates  His 
Majesty's  Ministers.  And  until  the  right  hon.  gentleman  the 
member  for  South  Lancashire  [Gladstone]  placed  his  hand  upon 
the  ark,  he  almost  seemed  to  hate  the  right  hon.  gentleman. 

Disraeli  maintained  that  there  had  been  a  great  improve- 
ment in  the  state  of  Ireland  since  the  Union,  due  to  the 
steady  policy  of  conciliation  which  had  been  for  many  years 
pursued  by  England,  and  especially  by  his  own  party. 
They  had  acted  on  the  principle  that  in  Ireland  it  was  wise 
to  create  and  not  to  destroy,  and  to  strengthen  Protestant 
institutions  by  being  just  to  Roman  Catholics,  as  in  the 
University  proposals  then  before  Parliament.  But  Glad- 
stone's policy  would  revive  the  acrimony  of  which  they  had 
hoped  to  get  rid,  place  classes  and  creeds  in  antagonism, 
and  indefinitely  defer  the  restoration  of  political  tranquil- 
lity. He  strongly  objected  to  disendowment.  '  I  view  with 
great  jealousy  the  plunder  of  a  Church,  because,  so  far  as 
history  can  guide  me,  I  have  never  found  that  Churches  are 
plundered  except  to  establish  or  enrich  oligarchies.'  There 
might  be  some  palliation  if  there  were  a  question  of  restitu- 
tion to  the  Roman  Catholics,  but  he  could  not  in  any  cir- 
cumstances agree  that  the  endowments  should  be  applied  to 
what  Liberals  called  secular  purposes.  '  A  secular  purpose 
is  always  a  job.' 

Towards  the  close  of  his  speech  Disraeli  developed  the 
argument  on  which  he  had  touched  in  the  previous  debate, 
which  he  had  pressed  in  his  letter  to  Cairns,  and  which  was 
especially  congenial  to  one  whose  Jewish  traditions  gave  a 
theocratic  bent  to  his  mind.  He  insisted  on  the  vital  im- 
portance of  the  union  of  Church  and  State;  by  which  he 
meant  '  that  authority  is  to  be  not  merely  political,  that 
government  is  to  be  not  merely  an  affair  of  force,  but  is  to 
recognise  its  responsibility  to  the  Divine  Power.'  The 
divine  right  of  Kings  had  properly  been  discarded,  'but 
ftn  intelligent  age  will  never  discard  the  divine  right  of 


Government.  If  government  is  not  divine,  it  is  nothing. 
It  is  a  mere  affair  of  the  police  office,  of  the  tax-gatherer, 
of  the  guardroom.'  *  If  the  Church  in  Ireland  fell,  he 
foresaw  attacks  on  the  Church  in  Scotland  and  on  the  Church 
in  Wales ;  and  the  crisis  in  England,  as  he  had  said  in  his 
letter  to  Lord  Dartmouth,  was  fast  arriving.  *  High  Church 
Ritualists  and  the  Irish  followers  of  the  Pope  have  been 
long  in  secret  combination,  and  are  now  in  open  confederacy. 
.  .  .  They  have  combined  to  destroy  that  great  blessing 
•of  conciliation  which  both  parties  in  the  State  for  the  last 
quarter  of  a  century  have  laboured  to  effect.' 

Gladstone,  in  reply,  deduced  from  Ministers'  speeches 
that  their  policy  was  some  form  of  endowment  for  the 
Roman  Catholic  Church,  and  condemned  this  alternative 
as  '  too  late.'  Gladstone's  tone  was  the  assured  one  of  a 
leader  who  knows  that  he  has  found  a  cause  which  unites  and 
inspires  his  party,  and  the  division  lobbies  justified  him. 
Stanley's  amendment  was  defeated  by  sixty  votes,  and  the 
motion  to  go  into  Committee  was  carried  by  fifty-six. 

From  Lord  Cairns. 

Confidential.  5,  CROMWELL  HOUSES,  W.,  April  4,  1868. — 
.  .  .  The  division  is  larger  than  I  expected,  and  yet  I  cannot 
but  hope  that  the  numbers,  together  with  the  views  which  Glad- 
stone's supporters  have  expressed,  will  during  the  recess  make 
the  country  awake  to  the  gravity  of  the  position.  The  issue, 
as  you  have  placed  it,  is  excellent,  and  I  cannot  express  my 
admiration  of  the  whole  of  your  magnificent  speech.2 

It  was  as  an  outwork  of  the  Church  of  England  that  the 
Church  of  Ireland  especially  appealed  to  Disraeli.  The 
same  forces  of  Whiggery,  Rationalism,  and  Dissent  that 
had  gathered  to  the  attack  on  Church  rates  were  once  more 

1  In  the  General  Preface  to  the  novels,  1870,  he  reaffirmed  this  doc- 
trine :     '  The  divine  right  of  Kings  may  have  been  a  plea  for  feeble 
tyrants,  but  the  divine  right  of  Government  is  the  keystone  of  human 
progress,  and  without  it  government  sinks  into  police,  and  a  nation 
IB  degraded  into  a  mob.' 

2  On  the  other   hand,  to   Hardy,  the   High   Churchman,   the   speech 
appeared  '  obscure,  flippant  and  imprudent.' 


mobilised;  and  they  were  on  this  occasion  reinforced  by 
the  Roman  Catholics  and  by  some  of  the  High  Churchmen 
and  Ritualists,  who  were  closely  allied  with  Gladstone  and 
dreaded  Erastianism  more  than  disestablishment.  It  was 
to  this  danger  that  Disraeli  called  attention  in  the  last  words 
of  his  speech.  His  statement  was  widely  challenged,  but 
he  unhesitatingly  defended  it  in  a  letter  to  a  correspondent. 

To  the  Rev.  Arthur  Baker. 

HUGHENDEN  MANOR,  Maundy  Thursday,1  1868. — .  .  .  You  are 
under  a  misapprehension  if  you  suppose  that  I  intended  to  cast 
any  slur  upon  the  High  Church  party.  I  have  the  highest  respect 
for  the  High  Church  party;  I  believe  there  is  no  body  of  men 
in  this  country  to  which  we  have  been  more  indebted,  from  the 
days  of  Queen  Anne  to  the  days  of  Queen  Victoria,  for  the 
maintenance  of  the  orthodox  faith,  the  rights  of  the  Crown,  and 
the  liberties  of  the  people.  .  .  . 

When  I  spoke  I  referred  to  an  extreme  faction  in  the  Church, 
of  very  modern  date,  that  does  not  conceal  its  ambition  to  de- 
stroy the  connection  between  Church  and  State,  and  which  I 
have  reason  to  believe  has  been  for  some  time  in  secret  combina- 
tion, and  is  now  in  open  confederary,  with  the  Irish  Romanists 
for  the  purpose.  The  Liberation  Society,  with  its  shallow  and 
short-sighted  fanaticism,  is  a  mere  instrument  in  the  hands  of 
this  confederacy,  and  will  probably  be  the  first  victim  of  the 
spiritual  despotism  the  Liberation  Society  is  now  blindly  work- 
ing to  establish.  As  I  hold  that  the  dissolution  of  the  union 
between  Church  and  State  will  cause  permanently  a  greater 
revolution  in  this  country  than  foreign  conquest,  I  shall  use  my 
utmost  energies  to  defeat  these  fatal  machinations. 

It  was,  therefore,  in  Disraeli's  view,  essential  that  the 
Church  of  England  should  collect  her  powers  for  resistance. 
As  a  layman  who  had  taken  an  active  part  in  diocesan  affairs, 
he  appealed  to  his  Bishop,  the  energetic  Samuel  Wilberforce, 
to  give  a  lead  to  the  clergy.  '  What  is  the  mot  d'ordre  to 
the  diocese? '  he  asked  on  April  15.  It  would  be  very  un- 
wise of  the  High  Church  clergy,  he  maintained,  to  let  their 

1  The  exaggerated  ecclesiastic! am  of  this  method  of  dating  his  letter 
exposed  Disraeli  to  deserved  criticism.  Always  an  artist  on  the  public 
stage,  he  sometimes  over-dressed  his  part. 


imperfect  sympathy  with  '  a  Calvinistic  branch  of  the  es- 
tablishment '  neutralise  their  action,  as  '  the  fate  of  the 
Established  Church  will  depend  upon  the  opinion  of  the 
country  as  it  is  directed,  formed,  and  organised  during  the 
next  eight  months.' 1  The  Bishop  had  been  much  discom- 
posed at  his  friend  Gladstone's  new  move,  which  he  attri- 
buted to  '  the  unconscious  influence  of  his  restlessness  in 
being  out  of  office ' ;  and,  in  response  to  Disraeli's  appeal, 
he  set  himself  vigorously  to  work  both  in  his  diocese  and  in 
the  Church  at  large,  and  took  a  prominent  part  in  a  great 
Church  meeting  of  protest  in  St.  James's  Hall  in  May. 
In  this  Churchmen  of  all  parties  joined :  Archbishop  Long- 
ley  with  Dean  Stanley,  Bishop  Tait  with  Bishop  Wilber- 
force.  Spofforth,  the  Conservative  organiser,  told  Disraeli 
that  the  meeting  was  an  unmeasured  success,  and  would 
rouse  the  Protestant  party  throughout  the  country;  but 
Shaftesbury,  with  more  discernment,  warned  him  that  it 
was  a  failure.  '  It  was  one  mass  of  clergy  with  a  sprinkling 
of  peers.  .  .  .  The  time  is  gone  by  when  the  country  could 
be  be-bishoped  and  be-duked  on  public  matters.  Unless  you 
can  get  a  mighty  body  of  laity,  bankers,  lawyers,  merchants, 
shipbuilders,  etc.'  The  Liberal  party,  seldom  behindhand 
in  agitation,  had  taken  the  lead  in  organising  great  gather- 
ings throughout  the  country  in  Gladstone's  support,  begin- 
ning with  a  meeting  in  London  over  which  Russell  presided ; 
and  it  was  manifest  that  the  new  policy  had  an  increasing 
volume  of  public  opinion  behind  it. 

The  large  majority  by  which  Gladstone  had  carried  his 
motion  against  the  resistance  of  the  Government  placed 
Ministers  in  a  difficult  situation.  If  that  majority  were 
maintained  when  the  Resolutions  were  moved  in  detail, 
resignation  or  dissolution  would  in  ordinary  circumstances 
be  inevitable.  The  circumstances,  however,  were  not  ordi- 
nary. Parliament  had  passed  sentence  of  death  upon  itself 
by  accepting  a  policy  of  Reform ;  but  the  policy  was  as  yet 
incompletely  carried  out,  as  only  the  English  Bill  had  be- 

i  Life  of  Bishop  Wilberforce,  Vol.  HI.,  p.  245. 


come  law,  and  the  Irish  and  Scottish  Bills  were  still  under 
consideration.  Moreover,  when  they  were  passed,  some 
months  would  be  required  to  draw  up  the  new  registers  and 
bring  them  into  operation.  It  was  not  reasonable  to  permit 
a  moribund  Parliament  to  decide  without  reference  to  the 
country  a  question  of  vital  importance  unexpectedly  thrust 
upon  its  attention.  On  the  other  hand,  it  was  absurd  to 
dissolve  at  once  and  appeal  to  the  old  constituencies;  and 
it  was  doubtful  whether  the  new  constituencies  could  be 
properly  created  before  1869.  Strong  influences  were  at 
work  to  prevent  what  apparently  most  of  the  Liberals  ex- 
pected and  desired  —  namely,  resignation.  Derby  advised 
against  it.  The  Queen  would  not  hear  of  it,  and  expressed 
herself  strongly  in  that  sense  in  a  private  talk  with  Derby 
on  the  very  morning  of  the  initial  vote. 

From  Lord  Derby. 

Most  Confidential.  ST.  JAMES'S  SQUARE,  April  3,  1868. —  I 
would  not  have  troubled  you  with  a  letter  when  I  know  how 
much  your  thoughts  must  be  engaged,  had  I  not  thought  that 
you  would  like  to  hear  that  the  Queen,  who  has  honoured  me 
this  morning  with  a  visit  of  near  an  hour,  spoke  in  most  un- 
reserved terms  of  condemnation  of  Gladstone's  motion  and  con- 
duct ;  and  on  my  venturing  to  refer  to  the  precedent  of  1835,  and 
the  corresponding  motion,  and  saying  that  its  only  result  had 
been  to  turn  out  the  Government,  H.  M.  exclaimed  with  great 
emphasis,  '  It  shall  not  have  that  effect  now ! '  I  took  on  my- 
self to  say  that  I  had  strongly  urged  you,  in  the  event  of  de- 
feat, not  to  think  of  resigning,  to  which  H.M.  answered  '  Quite 
right/  ...  'i 

Disraeli,  ever  a  fighter,  agreed  with  Derby  and  the  Queen ; 
but  several  members  of  the  Cabinet,  of  whom  Hardy  was 
the  most  prominent,  were  reluctant  to  sanction  a  course 
which  would  involve  Ministers,  in  Hardy's  words,  '  in  in- 
extricable difficulties.  The  Opposition,'  he  wrote  in  his 
diary,  'has  tasted  blood,  and  will  bully  and  endeavour  to 
control  us,  so  as  to  place  us  in  minorities  constantly,  and 
impede  any  legislation  in  our  own  sense.'  During  the 


Easter  recess  the  Queen  entertained  at  Windsor  not  only 
Disraeli,  but  also  Hardy  and  Cairns,  and  impressed  her 
view  very  strongly  upon  them  all.  Hardy  wrote  to  Disraeli, 
April  5 :  'I  have  been  much  struck  by  the  dread  which 
the  Queen  expresses  of  Gladstone  and  his  scheme.  The 
Coronation  Oath  weighs  upon  her  mind.  She  thinks  she 
should  be  relieved  of  it  legislatively  with  her  own  consent, 
before  being  called  upon  to  agree  to  the  destruction  of  the 
Church  of  Ireland.  .  .  .  The  Queen  is,  as  you  say,  ex- 
traordinarily friendly,  and  anxious  not  to  have  a  change.' 
Disraeli,  after  his  visit,  wrote  to  Cairns  on  April  8 :  i  The 
Queen  is  in  a  state  of  considerable  excitement  and  deter- 
mination about  the  present  state  of  affairs,  which  she  looks 
upon  as  very  grave,  tho'  sanguine  that  the  country  will 
rally  to  sound  views.' 

Before  the  recess  concluded  Disraeli  had  another  audience 
of  Her  Majesty  on  the  question,  and  on  the  resumption  of 
Parliament,  in  anticipation  of  the  forthcoming  debate  on 
the  first  Resolution,  obtained  the  general  sanction  of  the 
Cabinet  to  a  policy  of  dissolution  in  preference  to  resigna- 

To  Lord  Cairns. 

Secret.  10,  DOWNING  STREET,  April  22,  1868. — I  shall  open 
the  Cabinet  to-day  by  giving  the  result  of  my  audience  last 
Thursday  at  Windsor. 

I  shall  indicate  what  I  think  is  the  duty  of  the  Cabinet  as 
regards  themselves  and  their  party,  and  then,  by  Her  Majesty's 
especial  desire  and  command,  I  shall  refer  to  their  duty,  under 
the  circumstances,  to  the  Queen  personally. 

When  I  have  finished  I  shall  request  your  opinion,  and  the 
Queen  hopes  that  you  will  confirm,  from  your  personal  experience, 
the  accuracy  of  my  statement  as  to  Her  Majesty's  views.  She 
expects  the  same  from  Mr.  Secy.  Hardy,  and  for  the  same  reason ; 
but  I  shall  appeal  to  you  first,  not  only  because  you  are  my  princi- 
pal colleague,  but  because  there  is  only  one  black  sheep  in  the 
Cabinet,  the  Duke  of  M[arlborough]  and  as  he  sits  far  from  you, 
he  will  be  governed  by  the  numerous  opinions  that  will  precede 
his  own. 


From  a  portrait  by  W.  E.  Miller,  at  Hughenden. 

1868]       THE  QUEEN'S  COUNSEL  TO  DISKAELI  29 

From  Queen  Victoria. 

OSBORNE,  April  22,  1868. — The  Queen  received  yesterday  Mr. 
Disraeli's  letter,  and  thanks  him  very  much  for  his  full  explana- 
tion of  the  course  which  the  Government  propose  to  recommend 
to  her  when  Mr.  Gladstone's  first  Resolution  shall  be  affirmed. 

The  Queen  has  always  believed  that  that  question,  which  has 
been  so  unseasonably  raised,  cannot  be  settled  without  an  appeal 
to  the  country,  and  her  Government  may  depend  upon  her  support 
in  any  measures  which  may  appear  to  her  calculated  to  effect 
that  settlement  in  a  satisfactory  manner. 

But  as  Mr.  Disraeli  postpones  any  specific  recommendation  till 
the  division  on  Mr.  Gladstone's  motion  shall  have  taken  place, 
the  Queen  will  only  say  now  that  any  recommendation  she  may 
then  receive  from  her  Government  shall  have  her  careful  and 
anxious  consideration.  She  would,  however,  press  upon  Mr. 
Disraeli  the  importance  of  his  not  '  feeling,'  as  he  expresses  it, 
'  for  the  opinion  of  the  House,'  as  to  the  proper  time  for  appealing 
to  the  country,  but  that  her  Government  should  consider  this 
for  themselves,  and  announce  the  decision  which  they  may  think 
it  right  to  submit  to  the  Queen  in  a  manner  that  shall  show  no 
hesitation  or  doubt  as  to  the  policy  they  mean  to  pursue. 

Disraeli  had  some  reason  for  thinking  that,  in  spite  of 
the  violent  outcry  of  many  Liberals  and  the  Liberal  press 
for  an  immediate  change  of  Government,  Gladstone  and  the 
more  responsible  leaders  recognised  the  advisability  of  wait- 
ing for  the  result  of  the  appeal  to  the  new  constituencies. 
He  wrote  to  Hardy  on  the  23rd :  '  Gladstone,  instead  of 
wishing  to  upset  us,  has  no  Cabinet  ready,  and,  tho'  sanguine 
as  to  his  future,  is,  at  present,  greatly  embarrassed.  He 
wishes  to  build  us  a  golden  bridge,  and  if  we  announce  a 
bona  fide  attempt  to  wind  up,  he  would  support  Bills  to 
extend  the  time  of  registration,  which  would  be  necessi- 
tated by  the  passing  of  the  Scotch  and  Irish  Bills.'  He 
added  that  '  the  commercial  Liberals  .  .  .  look  with  the 
greatest  alarm  to  Lord  Russell's  return  to  the  F.O.,  or 
even  that  of  Ld.  Clarendon.  They  think  the  peace  of  Eu- 
rope depends  upon  Stanley's  remaining.  I  am  assured  that 
there  never  was  a  moment  in  which  a  want  of  confidence  vote 
had  a  worse  chance.' 


The  debate  on  Gladstone's  first  and  main  Eesolution,  that 
the  Irish  Church  should  cease  to  exist  as  an  establishment, 
was  carried  over  three  nights,1  but  added  little  to  the  ex- 
haustive arguments  urged  during  the  preliminary  stage. 
Gladstone  was  able  to  show  that  the  policy  of  joint  en- 
dowment tentatively  advanced  by  Disraeli  was  repudiated 
by  other  leading  Conservatives,  and  that  accordingly  the 
only  alternative  to  disestablishment  was  a  course  of  pro- 
crastination. Disraeli's  main  point  was  that  to  carry  the 
Resolution  would,  on  the  one  hand,  shake  the  principle  of 
property  throughout  the  kingdom,  and,  on  the  other,  im- 
pair our  security  for  religious  liberty  and  civil  rights  by 
tampering  with  the  royal  supremacy. 

The  absence  of  a  practicable  alternative  made  a  strong 
impression,  and  the  majority  increased  to  65,  330  voting 
for  the  Resolution  and  only  265  against.  Disraeli  imme- 
diately moved  the  adjournment  on  the  ground  that  the 
vote  had  altered  the  relation  between  the  Government  and 
the  House ;  and  proceeded  on  the  next  morning 2  to  Os- 
borne  to  tender  to  the  Queen  the  advice  which,  in  general 
terms,  the  Cabinet  had  agreed  upon  in  the  previous  week. 
As  the  course  to  be  followed  had  already  been  concerted 
with  Her  Majesty,  there  was  no  difficulty  in  obtaining  her 
consent;  but  she  very  properly  desired  that  her  Minister's 
advice  and  her  own  answer  should  be  formally  recorded 
in  writing. 

To  Queen  Victoria. 

[May  1,  1868.] — The  division  of  this  morning  in  the  House 
of  Commons,  by  which  at  half-past  two  o'clock  a.m.  Mr.  Glad- 
stone carried  a  Resolution  for  the  disestablishment  of  the  Irish 
Church  by  a  majority  of  sixty-five,  renders  it  necessary  to  call 
your  Majesty's  attention  to  the  position  of  your  Majesty's  Govern- 

About  two  years  ago  Lord  Derby  undertook  the  management 
of  your  Majesty's  affairs  in  a  Parliament  elected  under  the 
influence  of  his  opponents,  and  in  which  there  was  a  Liberal 
majority  certainly  exceeding  seventy. 

i  April  27,  28,  and  30.  *  Friday,  May  1. 

1868]        DISRAELI'S  ADVICE  TO  THE  QUEEN  31 

In  the  spirit  of  the  Constitution  he  might  have  advised  your 
Majesty  to  dissolve  this  Parliament,  and,  in  the  broken  state 
of  the  Liberal  party  at  that  moment,  perhaps  not  without  success. 
But  considering  that  the  Parliament  had  been  so  recently  elected 
he  resolved  to  attempt  to  conduct  affairs  without  that  appeal.  In 
the  following  year  he  had  to  encounter  the  Reform  question  under 
peculiar  difficulties,  and  he  succeeded  in  carrying  a  large  measure 
on  a  subject  which  had  for  a  long  series  of  years  baffled  all  states- 
men and  all  parties. 

Lord  Derby  would  naturally  have  advised  your  Majesty  to 
dissolve  Parliament  at  the  close  of  last  year,  had  there  not  been 
some  Bills  supplementary  to  the  Reform  Bill,  which  time  pre- 
vented carrying,  but  the  principle  of  all  which  had  been  sanc- 
tioned by  the  House  of  Commons. 

Was  there  anything  in  the  general  conduct  of  affairs  by  your 
Majesty's  present  Government  which  should  have  deterred  them 
from  this  appeal  to  the  opinion  of  the  nation? 

The  conduct  of  affairs  has  never  been  impugned  during  these 
two  years  in  any  department;  on  the  contrary,  in  every  depart- 
ment it  has  been  commended  by  their  opponents.  On  the  grounds, 
therefore,  that  they  assumed  office  in  a  large  and  avowed  minority 
in  a  House  of  Commons  elected  by  their  opponents;  that  they 
succeeded  in  passing  the  Reform  Act;  that  their  policy  has  been 
never  impugned,  but  has  been  entirely  accepted,  they  would  be 
acting  only  in  the  spirit  of  the  Constitution,  were  they  to  advise 
your  Majesty  to  dissolve  Parliament. 

In  this  state  of  affairs,  while  attempting  to  wind  up  the  session 
and  pass  the  supplementary  Reform  Bills,  Mr.  Gladstone  at  a 
few  days'  notice  introduces  a  policy  to  disestablish  the  Church 
in  Ireland. 

The  objections  of  your  Majesty's  Government  to  this  measure 
are  very  grave. 

1.  It  is  a  retrograde  policy,  and  would  destroy  the  effect  of 
thirty  years  of  conciliation. 

2.  It  shakes  property  to  the  centre. 

3.  It  dissolves  for  the  first  time  the  connection  between  Govern- 
ment and  religion. 

And  fourthly  and  chiefly  in  their  opinion  it  introduces  a 
principle  which  must  sooner  or  later,  and  perhaps  much  sooner 
than  is  anticipated,  be  applied  to  England,  where  the  effects 
must  be  of  a  most  serious  consequence. 

The  Church  will  become  either  an  Imperium  in  Imperio  more 
powerful  than  the  State,  or  it  will  break  into  sects  and  schisms 
and  ultimately  be  absorbed  by  the  tradition  and  discipline  of 


the  Church  of  Rome ;  and  the  consequence  will  be  that  the  Queen's 
supremacy,  the  security  for  our  religious  liberty,  and,  in  no 
slight  degree,  for  our  civil  rights,  will  be  destroyed.  In  fact, 
this  will  be  a  revolution,  and  an  entire  subversion  of  the  English 

Is  the  fact  that  this  policy  has  been  sanctioned,  perhaps  heed- 
lessly, by  the  House  of  Commons  a  reason  for  not  appealing  to 
the  nation?  Your  Majesty's  Ministers  humbly  think  not,  and 
that  no  satisfactory  settlement  can  be  arrived  at  without  such 
an  appeal. 

Under  these  circumstances  the  advice  they  would  humbly 
offer  your  Majesty  is  to  dissolve  this  Parliament  as  soon  as  the 
public  interests  will  permit,  and  that  an  earnest  endeavor  should 
be  made  by  the  Government  that  such  appeal  should  be  made  to 
the  new  constituency. 

In  offering  your  Majesty  this  advice  your  Majesty's  Ministers 
would  most  dutifully  state  that  if  your  Majesty  thought  the 
question  could  be  more  satisfactorily  settled,  and  the  public 
interest  best  consulted,  by  the  immediate  retirement  of  your 
Majesty's  present  Ministers  from  your  Majesty's  service,  they 
would  at  once  place  their  resignations  in  your  Majesty's  hands, 
with  only  one  feeling  of  gratitude  to  your  Majesty  for  your 
Majesty's  constant  support  to  them  in  their  arduous  duties,  which 
has  always  encouraged  and  often  assisted  them. 

From  Queen  Victoria. 

OSBORNE,  May  2,  1868. — The  Queen  has  given  her  most  serious 
consideration  to  Mr.  Disraeli's  letter,  and  cannot  hesitate,  as  she 
has  already  verbally  informed  him,  to  sanction  the  dissolution  of 
Parliament,  under  the  circumstances  stated  by  him,  in  order  that 
the  opinion  of  the  country  may  be  deliberately  expressed  on  the 
important  question  which  has  been  brought  into  discussion. 

The  Queen  admits  the  correctness  of  Mr.  Disraeli's  statement 
of  the  circumstances  under  which  Lord  Derby  undertook  the 
Government  in  the  first  instance,  and  Mr.  Disraeli  has  since 
continued  to  carry  it  on. 

She  has  frequently  had  occasion  to  express  her  satisfaction  at 
the  zeal  and  ability  with  which  the  several  departments  of  her 
Government  have  been  administered;  and  while  her  Ministers 
have  done  nothing  to  forfeit  the  confidence  she  has  hitherto 
reposed  in  them,  she  cannot  think  of  having  recourse  to  the 
alternative  which  Mr.  Disraeli  has  placed  before  her,  of  accepting 
their  resignations,  till  the  sense  of  the  country  shall  have  been 
taken  on  a  question  which,  [it]  is  admitted  on  all  hands,  cannot 
be  settled  in  the  present  Parliament. 


It  will  be  seen  that,  while  an  alternative  tender  was  made 
of  resignation,  the  advice  given  to  the  Queen  was  to  dis- 
solve Parliament  '  as  soon  as  the  public  interests  will  per- 
mit,' coupled  with  a  suggestion  that,  in  the  event  of  dissolu- 
tion, Ministers  should  make  l  an  earnest  endeavour '  to 
ensure  that  the  appeal  should  be  made  to  the  new  con- 
stituency; and  that  the  Queen's  reply  was  to  refuse  to  ac- 
cept resignation,  but  l  to  sanction  the  dissolution  of  Parlia- 
ment, under  the  circumstances  stated,'  without  making 
any  distinction  between  the  old  constituency  and  the  new. 

Disraeli  had  gone  to  the  Queen  without  calling  a  Cabinet, 
relying  on  the  general  assent  which  his  colleagues  had  given 
ten  days  before  to  a  policy  of  dissolution  rather  than  resigna- 
tion. This  somewhat  highhanded  departure  from  precedent 
was  naturally  resented.  (  Disraeli  has  communicated  with 
none  of  us,  which  is  strange,'  wrote  Hardy  mildly  in  his 
diary.  Malmesbury,  more  roundly,  noted :  '  The  Min- 
isters are  very  angry  with  Disraeli  for  going  to  the  Queen 
without  calling  a  Cabinet,  and  the  Duke  of  Marlborough 
wants  to  resign,  but  I  have  done  all  I  could  to  dissuade  him 
from  this  course.'  The  Duke,  it  will  be  remembered,  was 
described  by  Disraeli,  in  writing  to  Cairns,  as  a  *  black 
sheep '  on  this  question.  It  is  evident  from  the  entries  in 
Hardy's  diary,  and  especially  one  on  May  6  ('  A  Cabinet 
before  Osborne  would  have  altered  everything,  but  now? '), 
that  Disraeli  avoided  a  preliminary  Cabinet  because  he  had 
good  reason  to  fear  that  his  colleagues  would  weaken  in 
their  resolution  now  that  the  moment  for  action  had  arrived, 
but  might  be  trusted  to  accept  a  fait  accompli.  He  re- 
turned from  Osborne  on  the  Saturday  evening,  May  2,  saw 
on  the  Sunday  two  of  the  colleagues  upon  whom  he  prin- 
cipally relied,  Cairns  and  Hardy,  and  perhaps  others,  and 
explained  to  them  what  had  passed  with  the  Queen.  Hardy 
greatly  doubted,  and  had  a  strong  personal  longing  for 
resignation ;  1  Cairns  expressed  agreement  with  his  chief ; 

i  In  1889,  on  reconsideration  of  the  whole  position,  Hardy  wrote : 
'  Looking  back,  I  doubt  if  we  could  have  done  otherwise  than  we  did  ' 
(Gathorne  Hardy,  Vol.  I.,  p.  273). 


and  the  Cabinet  next  day  endorsed,  though  with  consider- 
able hesitation,  the  bill  which  the  Prime  Minister  had  drawa 
upon  its  confidence. 

A  course  which  had  only  with  difficulty  been  accepted  by 
Disraeli's  colleagues  could  hardly  be  expected  to  commend 
itself  offhand  to  the  Liberal  majority  in  the  House  of  Com- 
mons. Disraeli's  recital  of  the  successsful  conduct  of  af- 
fairs by  Ministers  since  1866,  his  justification  by  precedent 
of  the  constitutionality  of  government  by  a  minority,  his 
withdrawal  of  protracted  opposition  to  the  remaining  Reso- 
lutions, and  his  promise  to  expedite  public  business  so  that 
the  dissolution  might  take  place  in  the  autumn,  did  not 
prevent  the  Opposition  from  using,  in  Hardy's  words, 
'  plenty  of  unpleasant  language '  about  the  advice  which 
Ministers  had  tendered  to  the  Queen.  Gladstone  protested 
angrily  against  a  penal  dissolution,  though,  in  view  of 
Disraeli's  readiness  to  facilitate  debate  on  the  remaining 
Resolutions,  he  did  not  persist  in  his  announced  motion 
to  take  the  conduct  of  public  business  into  his  own  hands. 
Lowe  said  that  Parliament  was  asked  to  give  a  ten  months' 
lease  of  office  to  Ministers  whom  it  did  not  trust;  Ayrton 
and  Bouverie  denounced  Disraeli  for  bringing  the  Crown 
into  conflict  with  the  Commons;  Bright  said  that  it  was 
merely  for  the  sake  of  prolonging  his  own  term  of  office  that 
Disraeli  was  making  this  outrageous  demand  on  the  in- 
dulgence of  Parliament.  Disraeli,  in  reply,  pointed  out 
that,  while  he  was  ready  to  make  all  arrangements  for  an 
appeal  to  the  new  constituency  in  November,  the  Queen's 
permission  to  dissolve  was  unqualified,  without  any  refer- 
ence to  old  or  new  constituencies ;  and  he  challenged  the  Op- 
position to  give  Parliamentary  effect  to  their  taunts  by 
moving  a  vote  of  want  of  confidence. 

The  challenge,  as  Disraeli  expected,  was  not  taken  up. 
However  ready  the  Liberal  leaders  might  be  to  insult  and 
to  bluster,  and  their  followers  to  annoy  Ministers  by  put- 
ting them  in  a  minority  on  this  question  and  on  that,  the 
general  sense  of  the  House  was  that  fap  Government 


had  passed  Reform  should  remain  in  office  to  complete  its 
work,  and  to  pass  the  supplementary  measures  necessary  to 
secure  at  the  earliest  possible  date  an  appeal  to  the  new  con- 
stituency. The  very  reasonableness  of  this  view  only  served 
to  exasperate  Gladstone  and  his  friends ;  and  for  several  days 
they  kept  recurring  to  Disraeli's  statements  about  his  audi- 
ences of  the  Queen  and  the  advice  he  had  given  her,  suggest- 
ing supposed  discrepancies  and  denouncing  supposed  im- 
proprieties. One  such  occasion  is  described  in  the  following 

To  the  Duke  of  Richmond. 

CARLTON  CLUB,  May  5, 1868. —  Mr.  Gladstone,1  to-night,  without 
giving  me  any  notice  whatever,  called  on  me  to  explain  what  he 
described  as  a  discrepancy  in  our  statements  as  to  the  Queen's 
declaration  in  my  audience  at  Osborne. 

Had  he  been  courteous  enough  to  give  me  the  usual  notice,  I 
could  have  had  the  opportunity  of  conferring  with  your  Grace, 
and  learning  from  yourself  what  you  had  stated,  instead  of  being 
referred  to  the  mere  extract  of  an  alleged  report  in  a  newspaper. 

All  that  I  could  do,  therefore,  was  to  repeat  what  Her  Majesty 
had  been  pleased  to  declare,  and  to  add,  that  if  there  were  any 
discrepancy  in  our  statements,  as  I  was  the  Minister,  who  had 
waited  on  Her  Majesty,  it  seemed  to  me,  that  the  inquiry  ought 
rather  to  be  made  in  the  House  of  Lords,  than  to  myself. 

I  write  this  note,  that  your  Grace  should  not  suppose,  that 
I  hesitated  to  defend,  or  support,  an  absent  colleague :  but  under 
the  circumstances  of  the  case,  having  had  no  notice  from  Mr. 
Gladstone,  and  having  no  evidence  that  the  alleged  quotation 
was  authentic,  I  thought  it  best  to  take  a  course  wh.  suspended 
all  judgment  on  the  question. 

Another  occasion  arose  on  the  motion  of  a  Liberal  mem- 
ber condemning  the  policy  of  making  any  public  grants 
whatever  in  Ireland  to  religious  bodies,  such  as  the  Regium 
Donum  to  Presbyterians,  or  the  Maynooth  grant  and  the 
proposed  University  endowment  for  Roman  Catholics.  A 
warm  discussion  sprang  up,  chiefly  among  Liberal  members 
themselves;  and  Ayrton,  whose  unconciliatory  and  over- 
bearing demeanour  in  office  was  subsequently  to  bring  dis- 

i '  In  a  white  heat,'  noted  Hardy  in  his  diary. 


credit  upon  Gladstone's  first  Administration,  commented 
severely  upon  the  absence  of  the  Leader  of  the  House  dur- 
ing the  debate.  Disraeli,  who  arrived  during  Ayrton's 
lecture,  made  the  characteristic  excuse  that  there  had  been, 
as  he  anticipated,  a  quarrel  among  gentlemen  opposite  over 
the  plunder  of  the  Irish  Church,  and  that  it  was  not  his  duty 
to  give  an  opinion  on  the  subject.  This  sneer  seems  to  have 
caused  Bright  to  lose  all  command  over  himself,  and  to  use 
language  which  necessarily  brought  to  an  end  the  uncon- 
ventional but  undoubted  private  friendship  which  had  ex- 
isted between  him  and  Disraeli  for  twenty  years.  Bright 
had  been  falling  under  the  spell  of  Gladstone's  influence,  and 
apparently  was  ready  now  to  regard  Disraeli  through  his 
rival's  eyes.  This  is  what  he  permitted  himself  to  say : 

The  right  hon.  gentleman  the  other  night,  with  a  mixture  of 
pompousness  and  sometimes  of  servility,  talked  at  large  of  the 
interviews  which  he  had  had  with  his  Sovereign.  I  venture  to 
say  that  a  Minister  who  deceives  his  Sovereign  is  as  guilty  as 
the  conspirator  who  would  dethrone  her.  I  do  not  charge  the 
right  hon.  gentleman  with  deceiving  his  Sovereign.  But  if  he 
has  not  changed  the  opinions  which  he  held  twenty-five  years 
ago,  and  which  in  the  main  he  said,  only  a  few  weeks  ago,  were 
right,  then  I  fear  he  has  not  stated  all  that  it  was  his  duty  to 
state  in  the  interviews  which  he  had  with  his  Sovereign.  Let 
me  tell  hon.  gentlemen  opposite,  and  the  right  hon.  gentleman 
in  particular,  that  any  man  in  this  country  who  puts  the  Sov- 
ereign in  the  front  of  a  great  struggle  like  this  into  which  it  may 
be  we  are  about  to  enter  —  who  points  to  the  Irish  people  and 
says  from  the  floor  of  this  House,  '  your  Queen  holds  the  flag 
under  which  we,  the  enemies  of  religious  equality  and  justice 
to  Ireland,  are  marshalled ' —  I  say  the  Minister  who  does  that 
is  guilty  of  a  very  high  crime  and  a  great  misdemeanour  against 
his  Sovereign  and  against  his  country;  and  there  is  no  honour, 
there  is  no  reputation,  there  is  no  glory,  there  is  no  future  name 
that  any  Minister  can  gain  by  conduct  like  this,  which  will 
acquit  him  to  posterity  of  one  of  the  most  grievous  offences 
against  his  country  which  a  Prime  Minister  can  possibly  commit. 

it  was  an  outrageous  attack,  and  was  suitably  answered 
by  Disraeli.  Observers  differed  as  to  whether  he  was 
deeply  moved  or  whether  he  merely  spoke  with  quiet  scorn. 


Lord  Ronald  Gower  tells  us  that  '  Dizzy  quite  lost  his 
temper  and  shook  his  fist  at  Bright ' ;  but  Malmesbury's 
record  is  that  the  Prime  Minister  l  replied  in  the  most  gen- 
tlemanlike manner,  and  was  cheered  by  both  sides  of  the 

I  shall  not  condescend  to  notice  at  length  the  observations  of 
the  hon.  member  for  Birmingham.  He  says  that,  when  it  was 
my  duty  to  make  a  communication  to  the  House,  of  the  greatest 
importance,  and  which  I  certainly  wished  to  make  —  as  I  hope 
I  did  make  it  —  in  a  manner  not  unbecoming  the  occasion,  I  was 
at  once  pompous  and  servile.  Well,  sir,  if  it  suits  the  heat  of 
party  acrimony  to  impute  such  qualities  to  me,  any  gentleman 
may  do  so ;  but  I  am  in  the  memory  and  in  the  feeling  of  gentle- 
men on  both  sides  of  the  House  —  and  fortunately  there  are 
gentlemen  on  both  sides  of  this  House;  they  will  judge  of  the 
accuracy  of  this  representation  of  my  conduct.  It  is  to  their 
feeling  and  to  their  sentiment  on  both  sides  of  the  House  that  I 
must  appeal;  and  no  words  of  mine,  if  the  charge  be  true,  can 
vindicate  me.  The  hon.  gentleman  says  that  he  will  make  no 
charge  against  me;  and  then  he  makes  insinuations  which,  if  he 
believes  them,  he  ought  to  bring  forth  boldly  as  charges.  I  defy 
the  hon.  member,  for  Birmingham,  notwithstanding  his  stale 
invective,  to  come  down  to  the  House  and  substantiate  any  charge 
of  the  kind  which  he  has  presumed  only  to  insinuate.  Let  him 
prefer  those  charges;  I  will  meet  him;  and  I  will  appeal  to  the 
verdict  only  of  gentlemen  who  sit  on  the  same  side  of  the  House 
as  himself. 

This  challenge,  it  need  hardly  be  added,  was  not  met, 
any  more  than  the  challenge  to  bring  forward  a  vote  of 
censure  had  been  met.  But  the  stream  of  calumny  in  the 
House,  on  the  platform,  and  in  the  press,  flowed  on  un- 
abated. It  was  the  cue  of  many  Liberals  to  treat  Disraeli 
as  being  capable  of  any  trickery  and  of  any  breach  of  con- 
stitutional usage.  When  therefore  Gladstone's  second  and 
third  Resolutions  had  passed,  the  one  suspending  Irish  ec- 
clesiastical appointments,  the  other  praying  the  Queen  to 
place  her  interest  in  the  temporalities  at  the  disposal  of 
Parliament,  the  absurd  suggestion  was  made  that  Disraeli 
was  likely  to  advise  the  Queen  to  set  herself  in  antagonism 


to  the  House  of  Commons  by  returning  an  unfavourable 
answer  to  the  third  Resolution. 

From  General  the  Hon.  Charles  Grey. 

OSBORNE,  May  5,  1868. — .  .  .  Her  Majesty  hears  with  much 
satisfaction  what  you  say  of  the  favourable  prospects  in  the 
House  of  Commons;  and  trusts  that  your  expectation  of  being 
able  to  surmount  the  difficulties  still  before  you  may  be  realised. 
She  is  very  anxious  to  hear  what  you  propose  to  advise  her  as 
to  the  answer  to  the  Address  which  is  the  object  of  the  third 
Resolution.  The  Times  assumes  that  the  '  Suspensory  Bill ' 
"  which  the  Address  will  ask  the  Queen  to  allow  to  be  introduced, 
will  certainly  be  thrown  out  in  the  House  of  Lords.  This  would 
place  the  H.  of  Lords  in  a  position  of  antagonism  to  the  House 
of  Commons  from  which,  in  H.M.'s  opinion,  they  ought,  if  pos- 
sible, to  be  saved.  Yet,  after  all  that  has  passed,  it  seems  difficult 
for  the  Govt.  to  advise  the  Queen  to  refuse  the  request  of  the 

Could  Her  Majesty,  without  refusing  it  (on  the  contrary, 
expressing  her  anxiety  to  act  with  her  Parliament  in  any  measures 
calculated  to  give  satisfaction  to  her  Irish  subjects),  not  require 
that,  in  a  matter  which  cannot  be  settled  without  the  concurrence 
of  the  House  of  Lords,  the  Address  should  be  agreed  to  by  both 
Houses?  .  .  . 

Disraeli  was  too  shrewd  even  to  endorse  this  not  unrea- 
sonable suggestion  to  withhold  an  answer  to  the  Address 
till  it  had  been  adopted  by  both  Houses;  and  the  answer 
which,  after  special  consultation  with  Cairns  and  Hardy,  he 
settled  in  Cabinet  stated  that  Her  Majesty  desired  that  her 
interest  in  the  Irish  temporalities  should  not  stand  in  the 
way  of  the  consideration  by  Parliament  of  legislation  in  the 
current  sessions.  Gladstone  promptly  introduced  his  Sus- 
pensory Bill,  and  the  second  reading  was  carried  on  May 
22  by  a  majority  of  fifty-four,  after  a  debate  in  which  the 
Opposition  leader  insisted  that  the  choice  lay  between  a 
system  of  concurrent  endowment  such  as  had  been  hinted 
at  by  the  Government  and  the  general  disendowment  which 
he  himself  proposed  to  effect  by  repealing  the  Maynooth  Act 
and  discontinuing  the  Regium  Donum  to  Presbyterians,  as 
well  as  by  disestablishing  and  disendowing  the  Church  of 


Ireland.  Disraeli  was  hampered,  in  his  reply,  by  the  dis- 
favour with  which  the  policy  of  concurrent  endowment  had 
been  received  by  his  own  party  and  by  the  country.  He 
accordingly  minimised  the  extent  to  which  the  Government 
had  committe_d  themselves  to  it  He  denied  that  their  Uni- 
versity proposals  amounted  to  endowment,  or  that  they  con- 
templated paying  the  Roman  Catholic  clergy  or  increasing 
the  Regium  Donum.  The  logical  position  of  Disraeli  and 
his  Government  was  necessarily  much  weakened  by  this 
public  deprecation  of  the  only  alternative  policy;  a  policy, 
moreover,  which  he  favoured  himself  and  which  had  the 
historical  support  of  a  succession  of  British  statesmen  from 
Pitt  and  .Castlereagh  down  to  Russell,  who  had  only  aban- 
doned it  that  year.  He  had  to  fall  back,  as  his  main  argu- 
ment, on  the  resulting  danger  to  the  Church  of  England.  '  I 
say  this  act  is  the  first  step  to  the  disestablishment  of  the 
English  Church.'  The  correctness  of  this  view  has  recently 
received  unexpected  confirmation  from  Mr.  Birrell,  Chief 
Secretary  for  Ireland  for  many  years  and  no  friend  of  the 
Church  of  England,  who  has  deplored  in  an  important  State 
paper  that  the  Irish  Church  was  disestablished  rather  from 
a  desire  to  please  the  Dissenters  in  England  than  to  do  jus- 
tice to  Ireland.  But  a  practical  people  like  the  English 
will  never  be  deterred  from  dealing  with  a  practical  and 
admitted  grievance  by  apprehension  of  possible  but  remote 

The  Suspensory  Bill  had  been  pushed  forward  rather 
to  show  that  Gladstone  and  the  Liberals  were  in  earnest  than 
with  any  expectation  that  it  would  pass  into  law.  Disraeli 
having  once  registered  his  opposition  to  it,  facilitated  its 
speedy  passage  to  the  Lords,  where  it  was  promptly  rejected 
by  a  majority  of  two  to  one,  on  the  ground  that  the  whole 
question  should  be  left  without  prejudice  to  the  judgment 
of  the  electorate. 

From  Lord  Derby. 

ST.  JAMES'S  SQUARE,  May  29,  1868. — .  .  .  I  think  ...  I  may 
congratulate  you  on  being  master  of  the  position  for  the  remainder 


of  the  Session,  which  I  presume  you  will  close  as  soon  as  you 
can.  Will  you  allow  me  to  suggest  that,  partly  to  promote  that 
object,  it  would  be  well  to  let  it  be  understood  that  you  do  not 
mean  further  to  oppose  Gladstone's  Suspension  Bill.  .  .  .  Our 
object  should  be  to  get  it  disposed  of  in  the  Lords  as  soon,  and 
as  summarily,  as  possible.  I  suggest  this  for  your  consideration 
as  a  matter  of  tactics,  of  which  however  you  are  too  great  a 
master  to  stand  in  need  of  any  hint  from  me.  .  .  . 

To  Lord  Derby. 

10,  DOWNING  STREET,  May  30,  1868. —  I  must  thank  you  for 
your  kind  letter,  and  for  your  invaluable  counsel.  I  had  moved 
a  little  in  the  direction  you  advise,  and  will  still  further  prosecute 
that  course.  .  .  . 

To  Charles  N.  Newdegate. 

Confidential.  10,  DOWNING  ST.,  May  31,  '68. —  I  think  it  would 
be  well  to  consider  whether  it  may  not  be  desirable  to  place  no 
further  impediments  to  the  passing  of  the  Suspension  Bill  in  the 
House  of  Commons,  so  that  the  decision  of  the  House  of  Lords 
may  be  taken  as  speedily  as  possible. 

It  is  probable  that  the  Church  Commission  will  report  towards 
the  end  of  next  month,  and  if  they  recommend  any  modification 
of  appointments  it  will  be  difficult  for  the  Lords  to  oppose  the 
Suspension  Bill  and  they  will  be  driven  to  define  and  limit  its 
objects,  instead  of  opposing  the  second  reading:  and  this  the 
country  will  never  understand. 

No  doubt  Gladstone  sees  this  chance  and  will  not  be  in  a 
hurry  to  carry  his  Bill  through  our  House,  whereas,  in  my 
opinion,  our  object  should  be  to  get  it  disposed  of  in  the  Lords 
as  soon,  and  as  summarily,  as  possible. 

I  wish  you  would  think  over  this  and  give  me  your  opinion. 

These  letters  were  written  during  the  Whitsuntide  recess, 
which  roughly  corresponded  with  the  close  of  the  great 
party  struggle  of  the  session.  If  Disraeli  was,  as  Derby 
suggested,  '  master  of  the  position  '  from  that  time  till  the 
prorogation,  it  was  largely  because  he  had  not  only  evaded 
the  snares  of  his  foes,  but  had  also  brought  his  somewhat 
distracted  Cabinet  into  harmony  and  subordination. 

To  Mrs.  Disraeli. 

HOUSE  OF  COMMONS,  May  14,  '68. —  I  think  we  have  got  out  of 
our  danger,  but  it  has  been  very  ticklish. 


May  19,  '68. — The  Cabinet  was  very  satisfactory,  and  they 
signed  a  paper,  projected  and  headed  by  the  Duke  of  Richmond, 
to  stand  by  me  in  any  advice  I  should  give  the  Queen  on  the 
great  subject.  This  puts  an  end  to  one  source  of  wearing  dis- 
quietude, namely,  the  fear  that  the  Cabinet  might  not  stand  firm 
and  united. 

The  reunited  Cabinet  utilised  the  recess  to  come  to  an 
agreement  as  to  the  measure  to  expedite  the  new  register  so 
as  to  make  possible  a  General  Election  in  November  and  the 
summoning  of  the  new  Parliament  in  December.  Disraeli 
was  justifiably  anxious  that  the  acceleration  should  not  be 
such  as  to  arouse  a  suspicion  in  the  new  constituency  e  that 
there  is  any  design  to  neutralise  the  large  franchises  with 
which  they  have  been  wisely  invested,  by  hurrying  and 
hustling  them  in  the  establishment  of  their  electoral  privi- 
leges.' J  But  Cairns  and  Hardy  were  particularly  urgent 
in  pressing  for  an  early  date,  to  maintain  the  honour  of  the 
Government  and  to  save  them  from  any  possible  charge  of 
bad  faith ;  and  their  scheme  was  accepted  first  by  the  Cabinet 
and  then,  amid  general  satisfaction,  by  Parliament. 

This  Registration  of  Voters  Bill  was  one  of  five  measures 
which  Disraeli  carried  during  this  session  to  complete  the 
work  of  Parliamentary  Reform.  The  factiousness  of  the 
Opposition  made  the  progress  of  the  Irish  and  Scottish  Re- 
form Bills  through  the  House  of  Commons  a  tedious  and  ag- 
gravating business,  and  Disraeli  had  need  of  all  his  tact 
and  good  temper  to  bring  them  safely  into  port.  On  the 
Scottish  Bill,  particularly,  he  was  subjected  to  some  annoy- 
ing defeats ;  but,  in  pursuance  of  his  acknowledged  principle 
of  acting,  in  regard  to  Reform,  in  co-operation  with  the 
general  sense  of  the  House,  he  accepted  the  amendments  of 
the  majority  with  a  good  grace.  The  Boundary  Bill  was 
the  occasion  of  further  worries.  The  decisions  of  the  Com- 
mission appointed  by  the  Government  in  1867  were  not 
accepted  in  the  House,  and  were  submitted  for  revision  to  a 
Select  Committee  presided  over  by  Walpole.  The  Com- 

i  Letter  to  Cairns,  dated  May  29. 


mission  enlarged  the  Parliamentary  boundaries  of  many  big 
towns,  but  the  Committee  restored  the  old  limits ;  and  Gov- 
ernment and  Opposition,  Lords  and  Commons,  were  set  by 
the  ears  over  the  somewhat  trivial  questions  as  to  which 
tribunal's  decisions  were  to  be  followed,  and  whether  a  com- 
promise accepted  by  the  Prime  Minister  in  the  Commons 
was  binding  on  the  majority  in  the  Lords.  Disraeli  repu- 
diated the  interpretation  put  by  the  Opposition  on  his  words ; 
but,  after  the  Liberal  Peers  had  adopted  the  childish  ex- 
pedient of  leaving  the  House  of  Lords  in  a  body,  Malmes- 
bury  and  the  majority  gave  way. 

To  Lord  Mdlmesbury. 

10,  DOWNING  STREET,  July  3, 1868. —  I  have  learnt  your  proceed- 
ings in  the  House  of  Lords,  last  night,  with  astonishment.  The 
interpretation  placed  on  my  words,  when  speaking  of  the  progress 
of  business  in  the  House  of  Commons,  is  one  painfully  distorted. 
I  was  answering  an  enquiry  as  to  the  prospects  of  business  in 
that  House,  and  in  estimating  them,  I  mentioned,  that  certain 
measures,  tho'  they  had  not  formally  passed  the  House  of  Com- 
mons, might  be  considered  virtually  settled :  that  is  to  say,  would 
lead,  in  the  House  of  Commons,  to  no  further  debate  or  division. 

A  much  more  important  reform  was  effected  by  the  Cor- 
rupt Practices  Bill;  and  it  is  to  the  lasting  credit  of  Dis- 
raeli that  he  removed  the  trial  of  election  petitions  from  the 
jurisdiction  of  a  partisan  Committee  of  the  House  of  Com- 
mons and  transferred  it  to  an  impartial  tribunal  consisting 
of  His  Majesty's  Judges.  In  order  to  carry  this  simple 
and  desirable  reform  he  had  to  overcome  many  obstacles, 
in  particular  the  united  protest  of  the  Judges  themselves 
against  the  new  duties  it  was  proposed  to  put  upon  them. 
The  Bill  underwent  several  changes  and,  in  order  to  pass, 
had  to  be  made  experimental  in  form  and  duration ;  but  the 
principle  was  firmly  established  that  irregularities  commit- 
ted in  political  elections,  like  other  breaches  of  the  law, 
should  be  investigated  and  punished  by  a  legal  tribunal 
and  not  by  a  committee  of  active  politicians.  A  great  puri- 
fication of  public  life  has  resulted  from  the  firm  determina- 

1863-1868]     SUCCESS  OF  ABYSSINIAN  WAK  43 

tion  of  Disraeli  and  his  Government  to  associate  the  proper 
trial  and  due  punishment  of  corrupt  practices  at  elections 
with  the  extension  of  the  Parliamentary  suffrage. 

If  Disraeli's  Parliamentary  course  was  troubled,  the  prin- 
cipal external  venture  of  his  Government  was  brilliantly 
conducted.  At  the  beginning  of  the  very  week  which  wit- 
nessed the  decisive  defeat  of  Ministers  on  Gladstone's  first 
Resolution,  there  came  news  of  the  complete  success  of  the 
Abyssinian  expedition  under  the  command  of  Sir  Robert 
Napier.  It  was  on  the  morning  of  Sunday,  April  26,  and 
about  11  o'clock,  the  present  Lord  Iddesleigh,  on  behalf  of 
his  father  Northcote,  the  Secretary  of  State  for  India, 
brought  the  intelligence  to  Disraeli.  He  found  him  '  gor- 
geously arrayed  in  a  dressing-gown  and  in  imposing  head- 
gear,' and,  as  might  be  expected,  l  opulent  in  compliment.'  * 
The  Queen  told  her  Prime  Minister  that  she  was  t  truly  de- 
lighted at  the  glorious  and  satisfactory  news  from  Abys- 
sinia, which  she  thinks  must  have  a  favourable  effect  on  the 
general  position  of  the  Government.'  There  was,  indeed, 
universal  satisfaction ;  and  Gladstone  joined  in  the  compli- 
ments paid,  not  only  to  the  commander  and  his  gallant 
force,  but  to  the  Government,  and  especially  the  Indian 
Secretary,  for  their  prudent  conduct  of  a  difficult  affair. 

For  it  was  a  very  difficult  affair  to  rescue  a  British  en- 
voy and  a  British  consul,  who  with  other  captives  were  im- 
prisoned in  an  impregnable  fortress,  far  inland  in  a  wild 
and  inhospitable  country,  by  a  half-mad  and  only  half- 
civilised  potentate.  Ministers  had  only  with  great  reluc- 
tance accepted  the  necessity  of  sending  an  expedition,  Stan- 
ley characteristically  writing  to  Disraeli  in  the  autumn  of 
1866,  'I  sincerely  hope  the  W[ar]  O[ffice]  will  find  the 
country  inaccessible.  I  think  they  will.'  But,  as  Disraeli 
explained  when  moving  the  credit  of  £2,000,000  in  Novem- 
ber, 1867,  they  felt  that  the  honour  of  the  Crown  and  the 
duty  of  the  country  were  involved;  that  magnanimity  and 
forbearance  had  been  pushed  to  extreme  limits ;  that  justice 

i  Lang's  Northcote,  p.  194. 


could  only  be  had  by  recourse  to  arms.  None  of  the  numer- 
ous little  expeditions  which  England  has  sent  out  was  ever 
more  completely  successful.  The  difficult  country  was 
safely  penetrated,  King  Theodore's  army  was  defeated  with 
insignificant  casualties  on  our  side,  his  citadel  Magdala  was 
stormed,  he  himself  committed  suicide,  and  the  prisoners 
were  duly  brought  away.  Disraeli  may  be  forgiven  the  slight 
touch  of  pomposity  with  which,  in  moving  Parliament  to 
thank  the  commander  and  his  forces,  he  dilated  on  the  diffi- 
culties overcome  and  the  success  attained.  Napier,  he  said, 
had  to  form  a  base  on  a  desolate  shore,  to  create  a  road 
through  a  wall  of  mountains,  and  to  guide  his  army  across 
a  barren  and  lofty  tableland,  intersected  with  high  ranges 
and  unfathomable  ravines ;  leading  l  the  elephants  of  Asia, 
bearing  the  artillery  of  Europe,  over  African  passes  which 
might  have  startled  the  trapper  and  appalled  the  hunter  of 
the  Alps.'  Finally  our  troops  '  had  to  scale  a  mountain 
fortress,  of  which  the  intrinsic  strength  was  such  that  it  may 
be  fairly  said  it  would  have  been  impregnable  to  the  whole 
world  had  it  been  defended  by  the  man  by  whom  it  was 
assailed.'  Thus  it  was,  said  Disraeli,  linking  modern 
achievement  with  Johnsonian  romance,  that  '  the  standard 
of  St.  George  was  hoisted  on  the  mountains  of  Rasselas.' 

It  was  not  merely  for  its  conduct  that  the  expedition  was 
remarkable,  but  for  its  character.  Disraeli  pointed  out  in 
November,  1867,  that  the  country  was  going  to  war,  'not 
to  obtain  territory,  not  to  secure  commercial  advantages,  but 
for  high  moral  causes  and  for  high  moral  causes  alone.' 
Accordingly,  when  the  prisoners  had  been  released  and 
Theodore's  capital  destroyed,  the  British  force,  having  ac- 
complished its  object,  completely  evacuated,  by  the  orders 
of  the  Ministry,  the  country  which  it  had  successfully  in- 
vaded. Disraeli  naturally  congratulated  the  House  and 
the  country  on  so  unique  a  spectacle. 

When  it  was  first  announced  that  England  was  about  to  embark 
on  a  most  costly  and  perilous  expedition,  merely  to  vindicate  the 
honour  of  our  Sovereign,  and  to  rescue  from  an  unjust  but 

1867-1868]  COST  versus  SUCCESS  45 

remote  captivity  a  few  of  our  fellow-subjects,  the  announcement 
was  received  in  more  than  one  country  with  something  like  mock- 
ing incredulity.  But  we  have  asserted  the  purity  of  our  purpose. 
In  an  age  accused,  and  perhaps  not  unjustly,  of  selfishness,  and 
a  too  great  regard  for  material  interests,  it  is  something,  in  so 
striking  and  significant  a  manner,  for  a  great  nation  to  have 
vindicated  the  higher  principles  of  humanity.  It  is  a  privilege 
to  belong  to  a  country  which  has  done  such  deeds. 

Disraeli  has  been  charged  with  lowering  the  standard  of 
British  foreign  policy  by  basing  it  upon  British  interests 
rather  than  upon  public  right  and  justice.  The  Abysssinian 
expedition,  which  his  detractors  prefer  to  ignore,  is  incon- 
testable evidence  that  he  placed  public  right  and  justice 
high  among  British  interests.  The  only  criticism  to  which 
his  policy  on  this  occasion  is  fairly  open  is  that  he  under- 
rated the  cost.  Ward  Hunt,  in  his  Budget  speech,  esti- 
mated the  total  at  £5,000,000,  and  raised  the  income  tax 
from  fourpence  to  sixpence  in  order  to  meet  the  expense; 
but  it  turned  out  that  nearly  as  much  again  was  required, 
and  Gladstone's  Chancellor  of  the  Exchequer  had  in  1869 
to  provide  for  meeting  the  balance  of  an  ascertained  total  of 
£9,000,000.  The  fault  seems  to  have  lain  mainly  with  the 
Indian  Government,  who  supplied  the  General  and  the 
troops;  but  the  miscalculation  must  necessarily  detract 
somewhat  from  the  credit  otherwise  due  to  Disraeli  and 
his  Government.  Disraeli  himself,  in  retrospect,  treated  the 
cost  as  a  trifling  matter  in  comparison  with  the  successful 

To  Lady  Bradford. 

2,  WHITEHALL  GARDENS,  Oct.  2,  1875. — .  .  .  I  do  not  look 
back  to  the  Abyssinian  [war]  with  regret:  quite  the  reverse. 
It  was  a  noble  feat  of  arms,  and  highly  raised  our  prestige  in  the 
East.  It  certainly  cost  double  what  was  contemplated,  and  that 
is  likely  to  be  the  case  in  all  wars  for  wh.  I  may  be  responsible. 
Money  is  not  to  be  considered  in  such  matters :  success  alone  is 
to  be  thought  of.  Abyss,  cost  9  mills,  or  so,  instead  of  4  or  5 
anticipated;  but  by  that  expenditure  we  secured  the  business 
being  accomplished  in  one  campaign.  Had  there  been  a  second 
campaign,  it  wd.  probably  have  been  19  mill,  and  perhaps  failed  — 


from    climate,    or    an    abler    and    more    prepared    military    re- 
sistance. .  .  . 

Though  Parliament  was  prorogued  at  the  comparative 
early  date  of  July  31,  yet  once  more,  in  spite  of  the  time 
necessarily  devoted  to  the  corollaries  of  Reform,  and  of  the 
many  days  spent  on  the  Irish  problem  and  Gladstone's  new 
policy,  there  was  a  good  harvest  of  other  legislation.  The 
Queen's  Speech  enumerated  as  having  passed  t  Bills  for  the 
better  government  of  public  schools,  the  regulation  of  rail- 
ways, the  amendment  of  the  law  relating  to  British  sea 
fisheries,  and  for  the  acquisition  and  maintenance  of  electric 
telegraphs  by  the  Postmaster-General,  and  several  important 
measures  having  for  their  object  the  improvement  of  the 
law  and  of  the  civil  and  criminal  procedure  in  Scotland.' 
A  small  measure,  which  was  not  mentioned,  was  the  Act 
which  abolished,  none  too  soon,  the  degrading  practice  of 
public  execution.  The  purchase  of  the  telegraphs  was  a 
question  to  which  Disraeli  had  paid  special  attention.  To 
transfer  the  working  of  so  essential  a  public  service  to  the 
State  was  undoubtedly  a  great  public  benefit ;  but  the  price 
paid  to  the  telegraph  companies  was  so  high,  and  popular 
pressure  for  cheap  messages  so  persistent,  that  the  transac- 
tion has  never  yielded  the  profit  to  the  State  which  those 
who  effected  it  contemplated.  The  educational  bill  upon 
which  the  Cabinet  had  been  closely  engaged  at  the  begin- 
ning of  the  year  l  did  not  get  beyond  a  second  reading  in 
the  House  of  Lords,  where  it  was  introduced  by  the  Lord 
President,  the  Duke  of  Marlborough.  It  had  the  great 
merit  of  recognising  the  importance  and  dignity  of  education 
by  constituting  a  comprehensive  education  department  under 
a  Cabinet  Minister,  a  reform  which  Disraeli  had  advocated 
in  1855  2  but  which  Parliament  did  not  accept  till  1899, 
and  it  provided  an  effective  conscience  clause ;  but  Ministers 
hesitated  to  introduce  the  principle  of  a  rate,  without  which 
a  general  system  could  hardly  be  established.  It  was  a 

i  See  Vol.  IV.,  ch.  16.  2  See  Vol.  IV.  ch.  2. 

1868]        QUEEN'S  SYMPATHY  AND  SUPPORT  47 

measure,  in  Disraeli's  words,  '  preliminary,  but  of  magni- 
tude ' ;  but  there  was  no  time  to  consider  it,  and  the  whole 
question,  as  he  anticipated,  was  left  over  to  the  next  Parlia- 

Through  all  the  troubles  and  worries  of  this  spring  and 
summer  Disraeli  was  greatly  cheered  and  supported  by  the 
constant  sympathy  and  encouragement  of  the  Queen.  Her 
Majesty  considered  that  her  Minister's  conduct  and  the 
advice  he  had  given  her  at  the  time  of  the  crisis  were  per- 
fectly correct  and  constitutional;  and  she  was  disgusted 
with  what  she  held  to  be  the  factious  and  unworthy  treat- 
ment which  he  received  at  the  hands  of  the  Opposition. 
The  relations  between  Sovereign  and  Minister,  which  were 
eventually  to  become  so  intimate,  were  drawn  very  per- 
ceptibly closer  during  this  May  and  June.  The  Queen 
began  that  practice  of  sending  Disraeli  spring  flowers,  which 
was  a  constant  mark  of  their  later  relationship,  and  which 
has  resulted  in  the  permanent  association  of  his  name  and 
memory  with  the  primrose;  and  he,  whose  official  letters  to 
his  Sovereign  had  always  sounded  a  strongly  individual  and 
personal  note,  was  encouraged  to  develop  this  tendency  and 
entertain  Her  Majesty  by  such  correspondence  as  he  alone 
was  able  to  write.  Lady  Augusta  Stanley  told  Clarendon 
at  this  time  that (  Dizzy  writes  daily  letters  to  the  Queen  in 
his  best  novel  style,  telling  her  every  scrap  of  political  news 
dressed  up  to  serve  his  own  purpose,  and  every  scrap  of 
social  gossip  cooked  to  amuse  her.  She  declares  that  she 
has  never  had  such  letters  in  her  life,  which  is  probably  true, 
and  that  she  never  before  knew  everything  ! ' l 

Princess  Christian  to  Mrs.  Disraeli. 

May  12. —  Mama  desires  me  to  ...  send  you  the  accompany- 
ing flowers  in  her  name  for  Mr.  Disraeli.  She  heard  him  say  one 
day  that  he  was  so  fond  of  may  and  of  all  those  lovely  spring 
flowers  that  she  has  ventured  to  send  him  these,  as  they  will  make 
his  rooms  look  so  bright.  The  flowers  come  from  Windsor. 

i  Letter  from  Clarendon  to  Lady  Salisbury.  Maxwell's  Clarendon, 
Vol.  II..  p.  346. 


Mrs.  Disraeli  to  Princess  Christian. 

...  I  performed  the  most  pleasing  office  which  I  ever  had  to 
fulfil  in  obeying  Her  Majesty's  commands.  Mr.  Disraeli  is  pas- 
sionately fond  of  flowers,  and  their  lustre  and  perfume  were 
enhanced  by  the  condescending  hand  which  had  showered  upon 
him  all  the  treasures  of  spring. 

From  Queen  Victoria. 

May  14. — The  Queen  was  glad  to  hear  how  very  warmly  Mr. 
Disraeli  was  received  yesterday.  It  is  very  significant.  The 
Queen  trusts  that  the  debate  to-night *  will  be  satisfactory,  tho' 
Mr.  Disraeli  told  her  he  had  anticipated  the  worst. 

WINDSOR  CASTLE,  May  16,  1868. — The  Queen  is  most  thankful 
to  Mr.  Disraeli  for  his  very  kind  and  feeling  letter.  She  feels 
most  deeply  when  others  do  sympathise  as  he  does  with  her; 
Mr.  Disraeli  has  at  all  times  shown  the  greatest  consideration 
for  her  feelings.  .  .  . 

The  Queen  sends  by  this  evening's  messenger  a  few  more  flowers 
for  Mr.  Disraeli. 

BALMORAL,  May  21. —  The  Queen  was  very  sorry  to  hear  from 
Mr.  Disraeli  what  an  unsatisfactory  night  they  had  on  Monday.2 

She  feels  very  anxious  to  hear  what  course  they  intend  to 
pursue,  but  trusts  that  this  as  well  as  other  difficulties  will  be 
got  over,  and  this  annoying  Session  soon  be  brought  to  an 
end.  .  .  . 

May  23. — .  .  .  Keally  there  never  was  such  conduct  as  that 
of  the  Opposition. 

May  25. — The  Queen  thanks  Mr.  Disraeli  for  several  kind 
letters.  .  .  . 

The  Queen  is  really  shocked  at  the  way  in  which  the  House  of 
Commons  go  on;  they  really  bring  discredit  on  Constitutional 
Government.  The  Queen  hopes  and  trusts,  however,  that  to-day's 
division  will  be  satisfactory  and  then  there  will  be  quiet. 

The  sooner  the  Dissolution  can  take  place  the  better.  .  .  . 

June  6. — The  Queen  thanks  Mr.  Disraeli  very  much  for  his 
kind,  long  letter.  She  hopes  all  will  go  smoothly.  She  regrets 
however  the  acrimonious  discussion  respecting  the  letter  3  which 
she  wishes  could  have  been  avoided.  This  personal  bitterness 

1  On  the  Boundary  Bill. 

2  When  the  Government  were  defeated  in  important  division  on  the 
Scotch  Reform  Bill. 

3  Gladstone   had  written   a   letter    imputing   to   the  Government   a 
policy  of  concurrent  endowment. 

1868]  'WE  AUTHOES,  MA'AM.'  49 

in  politics  is  a  bad  thing,  and  if  possible  should  be  prevented. 
But  alas !  it  is  often  impossible. 

The  Queen  trusts  the  Session  will  speedily  be  got  to  an  end, 
for  it  is  sure  to  be  disagreeable  as  long  as  it  lasts.  .  .  . 

June  21. — .  .  .  Most  grateful  to  Mr.  Disraeli  for  the  gift  of 
his  novels,  which  she  values  much. 

It  was  particularly  tactful  and  appropriate  of  Disraeli 
to  present  the  Queen  with  his  novels,  as  Her  Majesty  had 
herself  entered  the  ranks  of  authorship  in  the  beginning  of 
the  year  by  publishing  Leaves  from  the  Journal  of  our  Life 
in  the  Highlands.  There  was  thus  a  fresh  link  between  the 
Minister  and  his  royal  mistress,  which  so  accomplished  a 
courtier  could  hardly  fail  to  turn  to  good  account.  There 
is  no  reason  to  doubt  the  story  which  represents  him  as  using 
more  than  once,  in  conversation  with  Her  Majesty  on  liter- 
ary subjects,  the  words :  *  We  authors,  Ma'am.' 

To  Arthur  Helps. 

[January,  1868]. —  I  am  most  obliged  to  you  for  sending  me  a 
copy,  and  an  early  one,  of  the  royal  volume. 

I  read  it  last  night  and  with  unaffected  interest.  Its  vein  is 
innocent  and  vivid;  happy  in  picture  and  touched  with  what  I 
ever  think  is  the  characteristic  of  our  royal  mistress  —  grace. 

There  is  a  freshness  and  fragrance  about  the  book  like  the 
heather  amid  which  it  was  written. 

They  say  that  truth  and  tact  are  not  easily  combined:  I 
never  believed  so;  and  you  have  proved  the  contrary;  for  you 
have  combined  them  in  your  preface,  and  that's  why  I  like 

The  Queen  was  far  from  well  in  the  spring  of  1868.  She 
informed  Disraeli  in  May  that  the  anxiety  and  worry  of  the 
last  two  or  three  years  were  beginning  to  tell  on  her  health 
and  nerves;  that  she  often  feared  she  would  be  unable 
physically  to  go  on ;  and  that  she  felt  the  necessity  of  rest 
in  a  pure  and  bracing  air.  A  visit  to  Switzerland  was  ac- 
cordingly arranged;  and  the  Queen,  travelling  as  Countess 
of  Kent,  left  England  at  the  beginning  of  August.  She 
passed  through  Paris,  where  a  slight  contretemps  occurred 


which  gave  Disraeli  an  opportunity  of  showing  how  tactfully 
he  could  offer  somewhat  unwelcome  advice. 

To  Lord  Cairns. 

Private.  HUGHENDEN,  August  11,  1868. — .  .  .  I  heard  from 
Lucerne  to-day.  Our  Peeress  is  very  happy  and,  as  yet,  quite 
delighted.  Her  house  is  on  a  high  hill,  above  the  town,  with  a 
splendid  view  over  the  lake;  the  air  fine,  the  rooms  large,  lofty, 
cool.  There  has  been  rain  and  there  is  a  grim  world. 

The  gentlemen  of  the  suite  don't  like  the  hill ;  facilis  descensus, 
but  the  getting  back  will  be  awful.  Stanley  has  not  yet  arrived, 
but  he  likes  hills ;  a  member  of  your  Alpine  Club. 

There  was  a  sort  of  Fenian  outrage  at  Paris;  one  O'Brien,  a 
teacher  of  languages,  shook  his  stick  at  Princess  Louise,  and 
shouted  '  A  has  les  Anglais,'  and  some  other  stuff.  The  Queen 
was  not  there. 

I  fear,  between  ourselves,  the  greater  outrage  was  that  our  dear 
Peeress  did  not  return  the  visit  of  the  Empress.  This  is  to  be 
deplored,  particularly  as  they  had  named  a  Boulevard  after  her, 
and  she  went  to  see  it !  ... 

To  Queen  Victoria,. 

10,  DOWNING  STREET  [August,  1868]. — .  .  .  There  is  no  doubt 
that  your  Majesty  acted  quite  rightly  in  declining  to  return  the 
visit  of  the  Empress  at  Paris.  Such  an  act  on  your  Majesty's 
part  would  have  been  quite  inconsistent  with  the  incognito  as- 
sumed by  your  Majesty,  for  a  return  visit  to  a  Sovereign  is  an 
act  of  high  etiquette:  which  incognito  is  invented  to  guard 

Nevertheless  there  is,  Mr.  Disraeli  would  ask  permission  to 
observe,  perhaps  no  doubt  that  your  Majesty  was  scarcely  well 
advised  in  receiving  the  visit,  as  such  a  reception  was  equally 
inconsistent  with  incognito. 

Certain  persons,  M.  de  Fleury  notably  among  them,  made  a 
great  grievance  of  the  visit  not  being  returned,  but  Mr.  Disraeli 
hoped  the  matter  would  have  blown  over  and  been  forgotten.  The 
Empress,  who  is  far  from  irrational,  was  not  at  first  by  any  means 
disposed  to  take  M.  de  Fleury's  view,  but  everybody  persists  in 
impressing  on  her  she  has  been  treated  with  incivility ;  and  there 
is  no  doubt  that  it  has  ended  by  the  French  Court  being  sore. 

Mr.  Disraeli  thought  it  his  duty  to  lay  his  matter  before 
your  Majesty;  as  your  Majesty  perhaps  on  your  return,  with 
your  Majesty's  happy  judgment,  might  by  some  slight  act  grace' 
fully  dissipate  this  malaise. 

1868]  VISIT  TO  BALMORAL  51 

It  was  not  found  possible  to  arrange  to  make  the  return 
visit  as  the  Countess  of  Kent  passed  through  Paris  on  her 
way  back  to  England;  but  Lady  Ely  wrote  to  Disraeli: 
1  The  Queen  desires  me  to  tell  you  that  H.M.  has  written  to 
the  Empress  herself  to  express  all  her  regrets,  but  to  say 
H.M.  has  given  up  paying  visits  now  and  had  declined  go- 
ing to  her  own  relations,  but  hoped  at  some  future  time  when 
she  passed  through  Paris  to  call  and  see  the  Empress.' 

Immediately  upon  her  return  to  this  country,  Her  Ma- 
jesty commanded  Disraeli's  presence  for  ten  days  at  Bal- 
moral, where  he  had  never  before  been  Minister  in  attend- 
ance. Mrs.  Disraeli  did  not  accompany  him,  and  he  kept 
her  fully  informed  of  his  doings  and  experiences. 

To  Mrs.  Disraeli. 

PEBTH,  Sept.  18,  '68: 

MY  DARLING  WIFE, —  I  telegraphed  to  you  this  morning,  that 
all  was  well.  Within  an  hour  of  this  place,  where  we  ought  to 
have  arrived  a  little  after  eleven  o'clock,  it  was  signalled  that 
something  had  gone  wrong  with  a  goods  train,  and  that  the  road 
was  blocked  up:  and  we  had  to  sit  in  the  dark  for  two  hours 
and  more!  However,  this  was  better  than  being  smashed. 
Everything,  otherwise,  has  gone  very  well. 

You  provided  for  me  so  admirably  and  so  judiciously,  that  I 
had  two  sumptuous  meals:  a  partridge  breakfast,  and  a  chicken 
and  tongue  dinner:  and  plenty  of  good  wine!  I  did  not  slumber 
on  the  road,  but  had  a  very  good  night  here,  and  have  got  up 
early,  quite  refreshed,  to  send  you  a  telegram,  and  write  a  few 
letters,  this  particularly,  which  you  will  get  to-morrow. 

There  was  a  great  mob  at  Carlisle  who  cheered  me  very  much, 
but  I  profited  by  our  experience  during  our  Edinbro'  visit,  and 
would  not  get  out:  so  they  assembled  on  the  platform  round  the 
carriage.  It  was  an  ordeal  of  ten  minutes :  I  bowed  to  them  and 
went  on  reading;  but  was  glad  when  the  train  moved. 

I  was  greatly  distressed  at  our  separation,  and  when  I  woke 
this  morning,  did  not  know  where  I  was.  Nothing  but  the 
gravity  of  public  life  sustains  me  under  a  great  trial,  which  no 
one  can  understand  except  those  who  live  on  the  terms  of  entire 
affection  and  companionship  like  ourselves:  and,  I  believe,  they 
are  very  few. 

Write  to  me  every  day,  if  it  is  only  a  line  to  tell  me  how  you 
are;  but  you,  with  your  lively  mind  and  life,  will  be  able  to  tell 


me  a  great  deal  more.  Montagu  [Corry]  will  have  discovered 
by  this  time  the  best  mode  of  communication.  The  Queen's 
messenger  goes  every  day  by  the  same  train  I  did  — 10  o'clock 
Euston.  Adieu,  with  a  thousand  embraces,  my  dearest,  dearest 
wife.  D. 

BALMORAL  CASTLE,  Sept.  19,  '68. — Arrived  here  last  night,  % 
past  nine;  the  household  at  dinner.  The  Queen  sent  a  consider- 
ate message,  that  I  need  not  dress,  but  I  thought  it  best,  as  I 
was  tired  and  dusty,  not  to  appear:  particularly  as  I  found  some 
important  letters  from  Stanley  on  my  table.  They  served  me  a 
capital  little  dinner  in  my  room,  and  I  had  a  very  good  night. 
.  .'i  I  thought  it  right  to  appear  at  breakfast  to-day,  as  I  had 
not  presented  myself  last  night. 

Lady  Churchill  in  attendance  and  Miss  Lascelles,  and  Lord 
Bridport,  etc.,  etc. 

Bridport  told  me  that  I  need  not  wear  frock  coats,  '  which, 
as  a  country  gentleman,  I  know  in  the  country  you  must 

Sept.  20. —  I  write  to  you  whenever  I  can  snatch  an  opportunity, 
and  they  are  so  frequent  here,  but  so  hurried,  that  I  hardly  know 
when  I  wrote  to  you  last,  or  what  I  said.  Yesterday,  I  dined  with 
the  Queen,  a  party  of  eight.  H.M.,  the  Prince  and  Princess 
Xtian,  Princess  Louise,  the  Duke  of  Edinburg,  and  myself,  Lord 
Bridport  and  Lady  Churchill. 

We  dined  in  the  Library,  a  small,  square  room,  with  good 
books  —  very  cosy ;  like  dining  with  a  bachelor  in  very  good  rooms 
in  the  Albany. 

Conversation  lively,  though  not  memorable.  The  Duke  of 
Edinburgh  talked  much  of  foreign  fruits,  and  talked  well. 

Although  my  diet  has  been  severe,  and  I  have  not  tasted  any- 
thing but  sherry  since  we  parted,  I  have  suffered  much  from 
biliary  derangement,  which  weakens  and  depresses  me.  .  .  . 
Yesterday  morning  I  went  out  walking  with  Lord  Bridport, 
and  made  a  tour  of  the  place :  so  I  quite  understand  the  situation, 
and  general  features :  I  much  admire  it.  Mountains  not  too  high : 
of  graceful  outline  and  well  wooded,  and  sometimes  a  vast 
expanse  of  what  they  call  forest,  but  which  is,  in  fact,  only  wild 
moor,  where  the  red  deer  congregate.  The  Duke  of  Edinbro' 
came  from  the  Prince  of  Wales'  place  with  his  keepers,  and  dogs, 
and  guns.  .  .  .  He  wears  the  tartan  and  dined  in  it :  and  so  did 
Prince  Xtian,  but  it  was  for  the  first  time;  and  the  Duke  told 
me  he  was  an  hour  getting  it  on,  and  only  succeeded  in  getting 
it  all  right  by  the  aid  of  his  wife  and  his  affectionate  brother- 
in-law.  .  .  . 

1868]  LIFE  IN  THE  HIGHLANDS  53 

Sept.  21. — The  Queen  sent  for  me  yesterday  afternoon. 

Her  rooms  are  upstairs:  not  on  the  ground  floor.  Nothing 
can  be  more  exquisite,  than  the  view  from  her  window.  An 
expanse  of  green  and  shaven  lawn  more  extensive  than  that  from 
the  terrace  of  Clifden,  and  singularly  striking  in  a  land  of 
mountains:  but  H.M.  told  me,  that  it  was  all  artificial,  and  they 
had  levelled  a  rugged  and  undulating  soil.  In  short,  our  garden 
at  Hughenden  on  a  great  scale:  except  this  was  a  broad,  green 
glade,  the  flower  garden  being  at  the  other  side  of  the  Castle.  I 
dined  with  the  household,  and,  between  ourselves,  was  struck, 
as  I  have  been  before,  by  the  contrast  between  the  Queen's  some- 
what simple,  but  sufficient  dinner,  and  the  banquet  of  our 
humbler  friends. 

Sept.  22. — The  weather  here,  instead  of  being  cold  as  they  pre- 
dicted, has  been  wet  and  warm:  and  my  room  every  day  too  hot; 
so  I  have  written  always  with  a  fire,  and  the  window  open.  It 
is  now,  under  these  circumstances,  63:  but  my  fire  nearly  out. 

Yesterday,  after  a  hard  morning's  work  —  for  the  messenger 
goes  at  12  o'clock,  and  I  rise  exactly  at  seven ;  so  I  get  four  hours' 
work  —  Lord  Bridport  drove  me  to  see  some  famous  falls  —  of 
Garrawalt:  and  though  the  day  was  misty  and  the  mountains 
veiled,  the  cataract  was  heightened  by  the  rain.  I  never  in  my 
life  saw  anything  more  magnificent:  much  grander  falls  often, 
as  in  Switzerland,  but  none  with  such  lovely  accessories;  such 
banks  of  birchen  woods,  and  boulders  of  colossal  granite. 

I  dined  with  the  Queen  again  yesterday.  .  >.  . 

Sept.  23. —  Yesterday  we  went  one  of  those  expeditions  you 
read  of  in  the  Queen's  book.  Two  carriages  posting  and  changing 
horses.  We  went  to  the  Castle  of  Braemar,  where,  every  year, 
the  contiguous  clans  assemble,  and  have  Highland  games.  The 
castle  was  most  picturesque,  and  is  complete  and  inhabited,  and 
in  old 'days  must  have  been  formidable,  as  it  commands  all  the 
passes  of  the  valleys.  I  was  very  glad  that  there  were  no  games. 
The  drive  to  it  sublime,  or  rather  nobly  beautiful.  Then  we  went 
on  to  the  Linn  of  Dee  —  a  fall  of  the  Dee  River ;  and  on  the  bank 
we  lunched.  One  might  take  many  hints  for  country  luncheons 
from  this  day,  for  our  friends  have  great  experience  in  these 
matters:  and  nothing  could  be  more  compact  and  complete  than 
the  whole  arrangements.  The  party  was  very  merry:  all  the 
courtiers  had  a  holiday.  Lady  Churchill  said  that,  when  she 
asked  the  Queen,  through  the  Princess  Louise,  whether  she  was 
wanted  this  morning,  the  Queen  replied  '  No :  all  the  ladies  are 
to  go,  to  make  it  amusing  to  Mr.  Disraeli.' 

Returning  we  went  to  Mar  Lodge,  and  took  tea  with  Lady 


Fife.  There  we  found  Sylvia  Doyle,  looking  more  absurd  than 
any  human  being  I  can  well  remember.  The  highlanders  call 
her  '  The  colored  Lady.'  Her  cheeks  were  like  a  clown's  in  a 
pantomime,  and  she  had  a"  pile  of  golden  hair  as  high  as  some  of 
the  neighbouring  hills.  However,  she  smiled  and  cracked  her 
jokes  as  usual,  and  gave  me,  as  usual,  a  long  list  of  all  the  places 
she  was  going  to. 

Lord  Bridport  gave  me  the  enclosed  photographs  for  you.  I 
saw  the  Queen  on  my  return  home  —  on  business.  We  left  Bal- 
moral at  !/2  past  12  and  got  home  by  7 :  a  very  fine  day :  no  clouds 
on  the  mountains  and  the  outlines  all  precise :  while  we  lunched, 
sunshine;  and  not  a  drop  of  rain  the  whole  day. 

Sept  24. — The  Queen  gives  her  Minister  plenty  to  do :  but  I 
will  write  every  day,  however  briefly.  .  .  . 

Sept.  25. —  Only  a  line  to  keep  up  the  chain.  .  .  . 

The  Queen  has  got  a  photographer  and  insists  upon  my  being 
done.  This  gave  me  an  opportunity  to  give  your  collection  to 
Lord  Bridport.  I  said  you  had  sent  them  for  the  Queen,  but  I 
would  not  give  them,  etc.,  etc. :  but  he  did ;  and  the  Queen  was 
delighted  .  .  .  '  and  said  many  kind  things  about  Mrs.  Disraeli.' 
I  shall  try  to  find  them  out. 

Sept.  26. — The  bag  has  brought  me  no  letter  from  you  this 
morning,  which  greatly  distresses  me:  for  although  all  goes  on 
well  here,  I  am  extremely  nervous,  my  health  being  very  unsatis- 
factory. ...  I  have  never  tasted  one  of  your  dear  peaches, 
which  I  much  wished  to  do  for  your  sake,  and  have  drunk  nothing 
but  sherry.  However,  the  attack  never  continues  in  the  day, 
but  then  I  am  in  a  miserable  state  in  these  morning  hours,  when 
I  have  to  do  the  main  work,  and  the  work  is  very  heavy.  .  .  . 

I  leave  this  on  Monday,  and  get  to  Perth  to  sleep,  and  the  next 
morning  to  Knowsley,  as  I  must  see  Lord  Derby.  On  Thursday, 
I  propose  to  be  at  Grosvenor  Gate,  after,  an  absence  of  a  fort- 
night! .  .  . 

This  morning,  the  Queen  has  sent  me  two  volumes  of  views 
of  Balmoral :  a  box  full  of  family  photographs,  a  very  fine  whole- 
length  portrait  of  the  Prince,  and  '  a  Scotch  shawl  for  Mrs. 
Disraeli,  which  H.M.  hopes  you  will  find  warm  in  the  cold 
weather.'  To-day,  I  am  resolved  to  keep  in  my  room. 

Adieu,  my  dearest  love;  though  greatly  suffering,  I  am  sus- 
tained by  the  speedy  prospect  of  our  being  again  together,  and 
talking  over  a  1,000  things. 

Sept.  27. —  The  Queen  sent  for  me  yesterday  after  she  came 
home  from  her  ride :  but  said,  when  I  left  H.M.,  '  This  is  not 
your  audience  before  leaving.' 

1868]         BALMORAL  AND  PUBLIC  BUSINESS  55 

Sept.  28. —  A  very  rapid  letter  before  departure.  The  joy 
at  our  soon  meeting  again  is  inexpressible. 

Princess  Christian  said  yesterday,  that  they  were  all  very 
sorry  I  was  going,  but  she  knew  who  was  glad,  and  that  was 
Mrs.  Disraeli.  .  .  . 

I  had  a  long  audience  of  the  Queen  at  four  o'clock,  and 
shortly  afterwards  was  invited  to  dine  with  H.  Majesty  again. 

Disraeli's  visit  to  Balmoral  coincided  with  a  great  pres- 
sure of  public  work,  and  he  realised  the  serious  inconven- 
ience caused  to  public  interests  by  a  ten  days'  sojourn  of  the 
Prime  Minister  in  the  remote  Highlands.  '  Carrying  on 
the  Government  of  a  country  six  hundred  miles  from  the 
metropolis  doubles  the  labour/  he  wrote  to  Bishop  Wilber- 
force.  He  only  repeated  the  experiment  once,  in  1874;  for 
the  rest  of  his  second  Administration  he  prevailed  on  Her 
Majesty  to  excuse  him  from  taking  his  turn  of  Ministerial 
attendance  at  Balmoral. 


The  fate  of  the  Irish  Church  and  of  the  Conservative 
Ministry  and  party  would  be  decided  by  the  result  of  the 
General  Election  in  ISTovember.  To  one  competent  observer 
it  appeared  a  fairly  matched  fight.  Clarendon  wrote  in 
June :  l  Confidence  in  Gladstone  seems  on  the  increase 
thro'out  the  country,  though  it  remains  feeble  and  station- 
ary in  the  H.  of  C.  On  the  other  hand  a  demoralised  na- 
tion admires  the  audacity,  the  tricks,  and  the  success  of  the 
Jew.'  Disraeli  realised  the  powerful  effect  that  organisa- 
tion might  produce;  and  with  his  well-known  disregard  of 
money  was  ready  to  take  a  liberal  lead  in  supplying  the 
necessary  funds.  t  What  we  want,'  he  wrote  to  Stanley, 
'  is  to  raise  one  hundred  thousand,  which,  it  is  believed,  will 
secure  the  result.  It  can  be  done  if  the  Cabinet  sets  a  good 

To  Lord  Beauchamp. 

10,  DOWNING  ST.,  June  22,  '68. — The  impending  General  Elec- 
tion is  the  most  important  since  1832,  and  will,  probably,  decide 
the  political  situation  for  a  long  period.  The  party  that  is  best 
organised  will  be  successful.  No  seat,  where  there  is  a  fair 
prospect,  should  be  unchallenged.  To  effect  this,  and  to  operate 
on  a  class  of  seats  hitherto  unassailed,  it  is  necessary  that  a  fund, 
to  aid  the  legitimate  expenses  of  candidates,  should  be  raised, 
and  that  upon  a  scale  not  inferior  to  the  range  which  democratic 
associations  have,  on  more  than  one  occasion,  realised,  in  order 
to  advance  their  views. 

As  it  is  natural  that  the  success  of  such  an  effort  must  depend 
upon  the  example  set  by  Her  Majesty's  Government,  I  have 
induced  my  colleagues  in  the  Cabinet  to  subscribe  a  minimum 



sum  of  ten  thousand  pounds,  tho',  if  they  follow  my  example, 
it  will  reach  a  greater  amount. 

May  I  hope  that  you  will  support  me  in  this  enterprise  ?  Some 
more  formal  application  may,  possibly,  be  made  to  you;  but, 
to  so  intimate  a  friend,  I  prefer  to  appeal  myself. 

One  thing  was  clear  to  Disraeli,  namely,  that,  in  determin- 
ing the  result  of  the  General  Election,  the  Church  of  Eng- 
land, if  united  and  resolved,  must  play  a  considerable,  per- 
haps a  preponderant,  part.  To  secure  active  support  for  a 
cause,  in  which,  to  his  mind,  her  own  ultimate  fate  was  in- 
volved, he  bent  his  energies ;  and  it  was  with  that  temporal 
end  largely  in  view  that  he  distributed  the  ecclesiastical 
patronage  of  the  Crown,  which  happened  to  be  of  a  pecul- 
iarly momentous  character  in  his  nine  months'  premiership. 
Five  sees  had  to  be  filled  in  that  short  period,  including  those 
of  Canterbury  and  London;  three  or  four  deaneries,  in- 
cluding that  of  St.  Paul's ;  besides  canonries,  a  divinity  pro- 
fessorship, and  important  parochial  cures.  Both  Low 
Churchmen  and  High  Churchmen  were  restive.  The  for- 
mer marked  with  alarm  the  rapid  advance  of  Tractarianism 
and  the  resulting  Ritualism,  and  many  of  them  were  dis- 
posed to  quit  for  Dissent  a  Church  which  seemed  to  them 
to  be  heading  straight  for  Rome;  the  latter  were  inclined 
to  regard  themselves  as  the  only  true  inheritors  of  the 
Anglican  tradition,  to  resent  the  want  of  recognition  under 
which  their  leaders  suffered,  and  to  magnify  the  episcopal 
character  of  the  Church  at  the  expense  of  its  national  aspect. 
To  Disraeli,  who  never  forgot  the  popular  outburst  at  the 
time  of  the  Papal  aggression,  the  political  danger,  at  least, 
appeared  to  be  greatest  from  the  Low  Church  side;  and, 
though  he  desired  to  make  a  fair  distribution  among  all 
loyal  schools,  it  was  to  placate  the  Evangelicals  that  he 
mainly  set  himself.  />>. 

In  this  whole  question  of  Church  patronage  he  laboured 
under  two  serious  disadvantages:  personal  ignorance  of  the 
leading  clergy,  and  a  multiplicity  of  divergent  counsellors, 
eager  to  enlighten  that  ignorance.  Keenly  interested  as  he 


was  in  the  ultimate  issues  of  religion,  and  considerable  as 
had  been  his  study  of  the  historical  claims  and  present 
needs  of  the  Church  of  England,  Disraeli  had  never  moved  in 
ecclesiastical  or  even  academical  circles,  and  knew  only  such 
clergy  as  he  met  in  society;  moreover,  though  he  regularly 
attended  his  parish  church,  he  did  not  go  about  to  hear 
preachers  of  renown.  In  Dean  Stanley's  Life  1  there  is  a 
story  of  the  Dean's  meeting  Beaconsfield  in  the  street,  on 
the  last  Sunday  in  1876,  and  taking  him  to  hear  for  the 
first  time  F.  W.  Farrar,  whom  he  had  just  made  a  Canon, 
preach  in  Westminster  Abbey.  To  Gladstone  it  would  have 
been  an  ordinary  experience;  to  Beaconsfield  it  was  a 
'  Haroun-al-Raschid  expedition  '  to  be  piloted  into  the  north 
transept  of  the  Abbey  to  hear  a  popular  preacher.  The 
Dean  and  the  Premier  listened,  unnoticed,  for  a  few  minutes, 
and  then  came  out.  '  I  would  not  have  missed  the  sight  for 
anything,'  said  Beaconsfield ;  '  the  darkness,  the  lights,  the 
marvellous  windows,  the  vast  crowd,  the  courtesy,  the  re- 
spect, the  devotion  —  and  fifty  years  ago  there  would  not 
have  been  fifty  persons  there.'  It  was  the  comment  of  an 
artist  and  not  of  an  informed  churchgoer.  '  Send  me  down 
to-morrow  the  clergy  list.  I  don't  know  the  names  and  de- 
scriptions of  the  persons  I  am  recommending  for  deaneries 
and  mitres,'  Disraeli  wrote  to  Corry  in  August,  1868,  from 
Hughenden ;  and  again  from  Balmoral  in  September,  '  Ec- 
clesiastical affairs  rage  here.  Send  me  Crockford's  direc- 
tory ;  I  must  be  armed.'  '  He  showed  an  ignorance  about  all 
Church  matters,  men,  opinions,  that  was  astonishing,'  said 
Wellesley,  Dean  of  Windsor,  in  November.  One  leading 
Churchman  Disraeli  did  know  well,  his  own  Bishop,  Samuel 
Wilberforce.  But  much  as  he  admired  his  gifts  both  of 
oratory  and  of  organisation,  he  did  not  trust  one  who  had 
been  for  years  hand  in  glove  with  Gladstone;  and  he  was 
convinced  that  the  great  mass  of  his  countrymen  distrusted 
him  still  more. 

i  Vol.  II.,  p.  447. 


The  Bishop  was  one  of  those  who  were  eager  to  direct 
the  disposal  of  the  Crown  patronage.  He  and  Hardy  and 
Beauchamp  *  plied  Disraeli  with  recommendations  on  the 
High  Church  side;  while  Cairns,  on  the  Low  Church  side, 
aspired  to  play  the  same  part  in  Disraeli's  ecclesiastical  ap- 
pointments as  Shaftesbury  had  in  Palmerston's.  Derby's 
advice  also  was  sought  and  given  on  every  important  occa- 
sion. Last,  but  by  no  means  least,  the  Queen  had  strong 
views  of  her  own,  founded  partly  on  the  Broad  Church  tra- 
ditions of  the  Prince  Consort,  but  largely  on  personal  ex- 
perience of  distinguished  divines.  Her  Majesty,  moreover, 
had  naturally  no  political  bias,  such  as,  consciously  or  un- 
consciously, swayed  Disraeli  himself  and  most  of  his  other 
counsellors ;  but  was  guided  solely  by  the  good  of  the  Church, 
as  she  saw  it. 

Disraeli's  first  important  appointment  was  to  the  Bishop- 
ric of  Hereford.  There  he  disregarded  both  his  Low 
Church  and  his  High  Church  advisers,  and  nominated  a 
hard-working  parish  clergyman  of  moderate  opinions,  Atlay, 
the  Vicar  of  Leeds.  This  was  in  May.  It  was  in  August 
that  he  made  his  great  bid  for  Protestant  support  by  ap- 
pointing to  the  Deanery  of  Ripon  Canon  McNeile  of  Liver- 
pool ;  l  a  regular  Lord  Lyndhurst  in  the  Church,'  as  an 
Evangelical  correspondent  wrote,  who  would  make  l  the 
Protestant  party  fight  like  dragons  for  the  Government.' 
Cairns  was  naturally  '  satisfied  that  nothing  more  politic 
could  occur  at  the  present  time.'  It  would  stop  the  feeling 
that  was  abroad  that  the  Bishop  of  Oxford  was  interfering 
and  influencing  Church  patronage  —  a  feeling  which  was 
due,  no  doubt,  to  the  appointment  of  Wilberforce's  chap- 
lain, Woodford,  to  succeed  Atlay  at  Leeds.  Derby  was 
startled ;  McNeile's  nomination  seemed  to  him  '  rather  a 

i  Beauchamp  had  endeavoured  to  influence  ecclesiastical  appoint- 
ments while  Derby  was  Prime  Minister.  Disraeli  wrote  to  him  on 
Nov.  24,  1866:  'I  will  do  my  utmost,  and  immediately,  to  forward 
your  wishes;  but,  entre  nous,  I  don't  think  my  interference,  in  matters 
of  that  kind,  is  much  affected:  at  least,  I  fancy  so.  I  asked  for  a 
deanery  the  other  day,  for  Hansel,  but  he  is  not  a  Dean.' 


hazardous  bid  for  the  extreme  Low  Church.'  Disraeli  did 
not  disguise  from  his  leading  colleague  his  electioneering 

To  Lord  Stanley. 

HUGHENDEN,  Aug.  16,  1868. — .  .  .  No  human  being  can  give 
anything  like  a  precise  estimate  of  the  elections  until  the  Regis- 
tration is  over.  All  that  is  certain  at  present  is,  that  we  have 
our  men  better  planted  than  our  opponents;  more  numerous 
candidates,  and  stronger  ones.  The  enemy  also  have  no  elec- 
tioneering fund.  It  is  a  fact  that  both  the  Duke  of  Devon [shir]e 
and  D.  of  Bedford  refused  to  subscribe.  We,  on  the  contrary, 
have  a  fund,  tho'  not  */2  large  enough :  but  sufficient  to  stimulate 
and  secure  contests,  where  there  is  a  good  chance,  and  which, 
otherwise,  would  not  have  been  engaged  in. 

What  we  want  at  this  moment  is  a  strong  Protestant  appoint- 
ment in  the  Church.  I  have  been  expecting  a  Bishop  to  die  every 
day,  but  there  is  hardly  a  '  good  Protestant '  strong  enough  to 
make  a  Bishop.  I  thought,  however,  of  recommending  Dean 
Goode,  an  Evangelical,  but  really  an  ecclesiastical  scholar,  and 
equal  in  Patristic  lore  to  any  Puseyite  father. 

Strange  to  say,  instead  of  being  made  a  Bishop,  he  has  sud- 
denly died :  and  I  have  recommended  the  Queen  to  make  McNeile 
of  Liverpool,  Dean  of  Ripon,  which  is  a  Protestant  diocese.  I 
believe  the  effect  of  this  will  be  very  advantageous  to  us.  .  .  . 

Aug.  21. — .  .  .  Things  are  rapidly  maturing  here:  the  country, 
I  am  convinced,  is,  almost  to  a  man,  against  the  High  Ch.  party. 
It  is  not  the  townspeople  merely,  but  the  farmers  universally,  the 
greater  portion  of  the  gentry,  all  the  professional  classes:  nay! 
I  don't  know  who  is  for  them,  except  some  University  dons,  some 
yoxithful  priests  and  some  women;  a  great  many,  perhaps,  of  the 
latter.  But  they  have  not  votes  yet. 

It's  still  a  quarter  of  a  year  to  the  dissolution,  and  that's  a 
long  time  for  this  rapid  age:  but  I  have  little  doubt  it  will  end 
in  a  great  Protestant  struggle.  The  feeling  in  England  is  getting 
higher  and  higher  every  day:  but  it  is  Protestant,  not  Church, 
feeling  at  present.  The  problem  to  solve  is,  how  this  Protestant 
feeling  should  be  enlisted  on  the  side  of  existing  institutions.  I 
think  it  can  be  done:  but  it  will  require  the  greatest  adroitness 
and  courage. 

Not  a  Cath.  will  be  with  us :  not  even  Gerard.     They  can't.  .  .  . 

The  Queen,  like  Derby,  was  startled  at  the  nomination 
of  McNeile,  and  only  consented  with  reluctance.  But  Dig- 


raeli  was  so  satisfied  with  what  he  had  done  that  he  was 
anxious,  when  the  Bishopric  of  Peterborough  presently  fell 
vacant,  to  proceed  with  another  strongly  Evangelical  ap- 
pointment. Here  he  met  with  decided  resistance  from  the 
Queen,  to  whom  he  explained  at  length  his  view  of  the  ec- 
clesiastical and  political  situation. 

To  Queen  Victoria. 

[End  of  Aug.,  1868]. —  .  .  .  The  appointment  of  the  new  Dean 
of  Ripon  has  quite  realised  Mr.  Disraeli's  expectations:  it  has 
done  great  good,  has  rallied  the  Protestant  party  and  has  been 
received  by  the  other  sections  with  no  disfavor  or  cavil. 

Since  Mr.  Disraeli  wrote  last  a  long  impending  vacancy  on 
the  Episcopal  Bench  has  occurred.  There  is  no  necessity  to 
precipitate  the  appointment  and  the  final  decision  can  await 
your  Majesty's  return.  Perhaps  Mr.  Disraeli  may  be  permitted  to 
wait  on  your  Majesty  at  Windsor  on  your  Majesty's  return,  before 
he  attends  your  Majesty  in  Scotland,  to  which  he  looks  forward 
with  much  interest. 

On  the  nomination  to  the  See  of  Peterboro'  in  the  present 
temper  of  the  country  much  depends.  The  new  prelate  should 
be  one  of  unquestionably  Protestant  principles,  but  must  com- 
bine with  them  learning,  personal  piety,  administrative  ability, 
and  what  is  not  much  heeded  by  the  world  but  which  is  vital 
to  the  Church,  a  general  pastoral  experience. 

Mr.  Disraeli  after  the  most  careful  enquiries  and  the  most 
anxious  thought  is  strongly  inclined  to  recommend  to  your 
Majesty  Canon  Champneys  of  St.  Paul's  and  Vicar  of  Pan- 
eras.  .  .  . 

Affairs  at  this  moment  ripen  so  rapidly  in  England,  that  he 
must  lay  before  your  Majesty  the  result  of  his  reflexions  on  a 
mass  of  data,  that  for  amount  and  authenticity  was  probably 
never  before  possessed  by  a  Minister.  He  receives  every  day 
regular  reports  and  casual  communications  from  every  part  of 
the  United  Kingdom.  .  .  . 

There  is  no  sort  of  doubt  that  the  great  feature  of  national 
opinion  at  this  moment  is  an  utter  repudiation  by  all  classes 
of  the  High  Church  party.  It  is  not  only  general :  it  is  universal. 

If  the  Irish  Church  fall  it  will  be  owing  entirely  to  the  High 
Church  party  —  and  the  prejudice  which  they  have  raised  against 
ecclesiastical  establishment. 

Mr.  Disraeli  speaks  entirely  without  prejudice.    The  bias  of 


his  mind  from  education,  being  brought  up  in  a  fear  of  fanati- 
cism, is  certainly  towards  the  High  Church,  but  he  has  no  sort 
of  doubt  as  to  the  justness  of  his  present  conclusions  and  it  is 
his  highest  duty  to  tell  your  Majesty  this. 

Nevertheless  the  Church  as  an  institution  is  so  rooted,  and  the 
doctrine  of  the  royal  supremacy  so  wonderfully  popular,  that  if 
the  feeling  of  the  country  be  guided  with  wisdom  Mr.  Disraeli 
believes  that  the  result  of  the  impending  struggle  may  be  very 
advantageous  and  even  triumphant  to  the  existing  constitution 
of  the  country.  .  .  . 

From  Queen  Victoria. 

LUCERNE,  Sept.  7,  1868. — The  Queen  thanks  Mr.  Disraeli  for 
his  two  letters.  She  is  glad  that  Mr.  Disraeli  has  not  pressed  for 
an  answer  relative  to  the  new  Bishop,  as  the  appointments  are 
of  such  importance,  not  only  for  the  present  but  for  the  future 
good  of  the  Church  in  general,  that  it  will  not  do  merely  to 
encourage  the  ultra-Evangelical  party,  than  wh.  there  is  none 
more  narrow-minded,  and  thereby  destructive  to  the  well-being 
and  permanence  of  the  Church  of  England.  Dr.  McNeile's 
appointment  was  not  liked  by  moderate  men,  but  still,  this  hav- 
ing been  done,  it  is  not  necessary  or  advisable  to  make  more  of 
a  similar  nature,  and  the  Queen,  with  the  greatest  wish  to  sup- 
port the  Government  and  the  Protestant  feeling  in  the  country, 
feels  bound  to  ask  for  moderate,  sensible,  clever  men,  neither 
Evangelical  or  Ritualistic  in  their  views,  to  be  appointed  to 
the  high  offices  in  the  Church. 

The  Church  of  England  has  suffered  from  its  great  exclusive- 
ness  and  narrow-mindedness,  and,  in  these  days  of  danger  to  her, 
all  the  liberal-minded  men  should  be  rallied  round  her  and 
pressed  into  her  service  to  support  her  and  not  to  make  her  more 
and  more  a  mere  Party  Church,  which  will  alienate  all  the 
others  from  her.  This  is  the  more  important  as  we  are  threatened 
with  the  loss  of  several  more  Bishops  and  of  one  most  eminent 
man  —  the  Dean  of  St.  Paul's.  .  .  -1 

To  Queen  Victoria. 

[Sept.,  1868]. — .  .  .  If,  when  the  verdict  is  given,  the  Church 
of  England  is  associated  in  the  minds  of  the  people  with  the 
extreme  High  Church  school,  the  country  will  deal  to  that  Church 
a  serious,  if  not  a  deadly,  blow. 

Your  Majesty  justly  observes  that  the  appointment  of  Dr. 

i  Milman,  the  ecclesiastical  historian. 


McNeile  did  not  satisfy  moderate  men.  With  becoming  humility 
Mr.  Disraeli  would  venture  to  observe  it  was  not  intended  to  do 
so.  But  it  satisfied  some  millions  of  your  Majesty's  subjects  and 
acted  as  a  safety  valve  to  such  an  extent,  that  while,  before  that 
appointment,  an  extreme  pressure  on  your  Majesty's  advisers 
existed  to  appoint  to  the  vacant  see  some  professor  of  very  decided 
opinions,  from  the  moment  of  the  preferment  of  Dr.  McNeile 
that  pressure  was  greatly  mitigated,  and  almost  ceased. 

With  humility  Mr.  Disraeli  would  presume  to  observe,  that 
he  knows  not,  in  his  long  political  experience,  any  happier  in- 
stance of  seizing  the  apropos. 

The  country  was  on  the  eve  of  a  series  of  public  meetings 
on  the  Church,  held  by  Churchmen,  to  protest  against  the  imputed 
designs  of  the  Crown  and  the  Crown's  Ministers  in  favour  of 
Ritualism  and  Rationalism,  when  this  preferment  was  decided 
on.  Twenty  preferments  of  clergymen  of  the  same  type  as 
McNeile  but  not  of  his  strong  individuality  would  not  have 
produced  the  effect. 

And  what  did  he  receive  ?  A  mock  deanery  which  your  Majesty 
could  not  have  offered  to  some  of  the  great  scholars  who  sigh 
for  such,  etc. 

The  appointment  of  Dr.  McNeile  already  allows  your  Majesty 
greater  latitude  in  the  selection  of  a  Bishop. 

Again,  if  a  wise  selection  be  made  in  this  instance  of  Peter- 
boro'  your  Majesty  will  find  still  more  freedom  in  the  impending 
vacancies  which  your  Majesty  is  obliged  to  contemplate  but 
which  it  is  trusted  may  be  at  least  postponed. 

Your  Majesty  very  properly  wishes  to  appoint  to  the  Bench 
'  moderate,  sensible,  and  clever  men '  neither  Ritualist  nor  Evan- 
gelical. But  Mr.  Disraeli  humbly  asks,  Where  are  they  to  be 
found?  The  time  is  not  come,  at  least  certainly  not  the  hour, 
when  Deans  of  St.  Paul  and  Westminster,  and  men  of  that  class 
of  refined  thought,  however  gifted,  can  be  submitted  to  your 
Majesty's  consideration.  It  is  not  ripe  for  that;  tho'  with  pru- 
dence it  may  be  sooner  than  some  suspect.  The  consequences  of 
such  a  step  at  this  particular  moment  would  be  disastrous.  And, 
as  for  men,  qualified  as  your  Majesty  wishes,  without  the  pale  of 
that  school,  why  your  Majesty  has  already  been  obliged  to  go  to 
New  Zealand  for  a  Prelate,1  and  even  Dr.  Atlay,  whom  Mr.  Dis- 
raeli recommended  to  your  Majesty  as  almost  ultimus  Roman- 
orum,  is  denounced,  tho'  erroneously,  as  a  creature  of  the  Bishop 
of  Oxford,  a  prelate,  who,  tho'  Mr.  Disraeli's  diocesan,  he  is 

i  Selwyn. 


bound  to  see  is  absolutely  in  _  this  country  more  odious  than 

As  a  matter  of  civil  prudence,  he  would  presume  to  say  wis- 
dom, Mr.  Disraeli  is  of  opinion,  that  the  wisest  course  at  this 
conjuncture  is  to  seek  among  the  Evangelical  school  some  man 
of  learning,  piety,  administrative  capacity,  and  of  views,  tho' 
inevitably  decided,  temperate  and  conciliatory  in  their  applica- 
tion. He  thinks  that,  with  the  more  ardent  satisfied  by  the 
tardy  recognition  of  McNeile  and  the  calmelr  portion,  now 
alarmed  and  irritated,  encouraged  and  soothed  and  solaced  by 
such  an  appointment  as  that  which  he  indicates,  we  might  get 
over  the  General  Election  without  any  violent  ebullition:  and 
even  if  another  vacancy  were  to  occur  in  the  interval,  a  man 
more  conformable  with  your  Majesty's  views  might  be  advanced, 
if  Your  Majesty  could  fix  upon  one. 

The  names  which  Mr.  Disraeli,  after  the  most  anxious  and 
painful  investigation,  places  before  your  Majesty's  consideration, 
are  both  of,  as  he  believes,  admirable  men:  and  who  by  their 
standing,  compass  of  mind,  and  tact  in  their  intercourse  with 
their  fellow-clergy,  are  qualified  for  the  office  of  a  Bishop. 

They  are  Canon  Champneys  of  St.  Paul's  and  Vicar  of  Pan- 
eras,  Archdeacon  Hone  of  Worcester.1 

Doubtless  neither  of  these  appointments  would  please  the 
sacerdotal  school  nor  even  satisfy  the  philosophic:  that  is  not 
to  be  expected :  but  they  would  be  received  with  respect  alike  by 
Ritualist  or  Rationalist;  and  with  confidence  and  joy  by  the 
great  body  of  your  Majesty's  subjects. 

From  Queen  Victoria. 

BALMORAL,  Sept.  18,  1868. — Tho'  the  Queen  will  have  an 
opportunity  of  seeing  and  conversing  with  Mr.  Disraeli  on  this 
important  and  difficult  subject,  viz.  the  Church  appointments, 
she  thinks  it  as  well  to  put  down  in  writing  the  result  of  much 
reflection  on  her  part. 

First  of  all  —  it  is  to  be  remembered  that  any  ultra-Protestant 
appointment,  or  at  least  any  extreme  Evangelical  one,  will  only 
alienate  the  other  party  and  not  please  the  really  moderate  men  — 
while  it  is  bringing  into  the  Church  those  who  by  their  natural 
illiberality  will  render  the  Church  itself  more  and  more  un- 
popular. .  .  . 

The  deanery  of  St.  Paul's,  which  the  Queen  fears  will  soon 
be  vacant,  she  thinks  ought  certainly  to  be  given  for  eminence 

11805-1881:  Rector  of  Halesowen,  and  Archdeacon  of  Worcester: 
a  respected  but  hardly  outstanding  Evangelical. 


only  —  either  as  a  preacher  or  a  writer  —  irrespective  of  party, 
and  she  trusts  that,  should  we  lose  the  valuable,  distinguished  and 
excellent  present  Dean  of  St.  Paul's,  Mr.  Disraeli  will  concur 
in  this.  Another  very  clever  man,  and  the  finest  preacher  the 
Queen  has  ever  heard  out  of  Scotland,  and  whom  she  would 
much  wish  to  see  promoted  —  is  the  Dean  of  Cork  (Dr.  Magee). 

To   Lord  Derby. 

Private.  PERTH,  Sept.  18,  '68. — .  .  .  I  wish  I  could  consult 
you  about  the  Bishop,  but  it  would  require  a  volume  instead  of 
a  letter.  These  questions,  within  the  last  few  months,  have 
become  so  critical  and  complicated.  They  were  always  difficult 
enough.  I  have  begun  to  write  to  you  several  times  on  this 
subject,  but  have  given  it  up  in  despair  from  the  utter  inability 
of  conveying  to  you  my  view  of  the  circumstances  in  a  letter. 

I  think  the  deanery  of  Ripon  has  been  a  coup.  I  was  really 
surrounded  by  hungry  lions  and  bulls  of  Bashan  till  that  took 
place,  but,  since,  there  has  been  a  lull,  and  an  easier  feeling 
in  all  quarters  —  strange  to  say  —  among  all  parties.  Probably 
they  were  all  astounded. 

Oh!  for  an  hour  of  confidential  talk  in  St.  James'  Square! 
There  are  priests  now,  and  men  of  abilities,  who  are  as  perverse 
as  Laud,  and  some  as  wild  as  Hugh  Peters!  ...  I  am,  as  I 
always  am,  to  you,  most  faithful,  D. 

The  High  Church  party  were  deeply  affronted  by  Mc- 
Neile's  appointment.  Even  so  moderate  and  representative 
a  Churchman  as  Hook,  Dean  of  Chichester,  came  out  against 
the  Conservative  cause.  Disraeli  complained  to  the  Bishop 
of  Oxford  that  '  in  the  great  struggle  in  which.  I  am  em- 
barked, it  is  a  matter  of  great  mortification  to  me  that  I 
am  daily  crossed,  and  generally  opposed,  by  the  High 
Church  party.'  The  Bishop  replied  on  September  11 : 
*  The  vast  body  of  sound  Churchmen  are  entirely  with  you 
on  the  great  question  of  the  day.  But  I  should  not  tell  you 
all  that  I  believe  to  be  the  truth  if  I  did  not  add  that  there 
is  at  this  moment  a  jealous  and  alarmed  watchfulness  of 
your  administration  of  Church  patronage.  Those  who 
through  the  long  period  of  Palmerston's  Administration  held 
their  fidelity  in  an  ostracised  position  are  in  danger  of  being 
alienated.'  The  Bishop  assisted  Disraeli  by  explaining  to 


Hook  that  McNeile's  appointment  only  meant  that  no  al- 
lowed party  in  the  Church  would  be  excluded  from  promo- 
tion; but  he  repeatedly  urged  Disraeli  to  placate  what  he 
called  '  the  strong  middle  party  of  orthodox  English 
Churchmen/  who  alone  could  give  him  the  support  he 
wanted.  Disraeli  rejoined  emphatically  from  Balmoral 
on  September  28 : 

There  can  be  no  doubt  that  every  wise  man  on  our  side  should 
attract  the  Protestant  feeling,  as  much  as  practicable,  to  the 
Church  of  England.  It  has  been  diverted  from  the  Church  of 
England  in  Scotland.  There  the  Protestant  feeling  is  absolutely 
enlisted  against  us.  If  we  let  it  escape  from  us  in  England,  all 
is  over.  It  appears  to  me  that,  if  we  act  in  the  spirit  of  the 
Dean  of  Chichester,  we  may  all  live  to  see  the  great  Cburch 
of  England  subside  into  an  Episcopalian  sect.  I  will  struggle 
against  this  with  my  utmost  energy.1 

Disraeli,  apparently,  knew  little  or  nothing  of  Magee, 
the  great  orator  of  the  Irish  Church,  till  his  name  was  sug- 
gested by  the  Queen.  But  soon  recommendations  came  from 
many  quarters  in  his  favour ;  and  before  the  end  of  the  month 
he  attracted  widespread  attention  as  the  preacher  of  a  fa- 
mous sermon  of  appeal  from  the  Irish  Church  to  her  Eng- 
lish sister,  on  the  text :  '  They  beckoned  unto  their  part- 
ners, which  were  in  the  other  ship,  that  they  should  come 
and  help  them.'  2 

To  Montagu  Corry. 

BALMORAL,  Sept.  21,  '68. — .  .  .  The  Queen,  I  found,  very  de- 
sirous to  make  Magee  (Dean  of  Cork)  the  Bishop.  I  waived 
all  this  by  saying  he  must  be  an  Oxford  man,  and  she  suggested 
the  Dean  might  be  one:  but  I  had  no  book  to  refer  to,  and  I 
am  not  sure  whether  Crockford,  shortsighted  Crockford,  bio- 
graphises  the  Irish  clergy.  Generally  speaking,  I  also  discour- 
aged the  idea:  but  to  my  intense  surprise  I  received  yesterday 
a  letter  from  John  Manners,  the  highest  Churchman  in  the 
Cabinet,  proposing  Magee  himself  for  my  consideration,  as  an 
appointment  which  would  satisfy  all  parties.  We  should  then, 

1  Life  of  Bishop  Wilberforce,  Vol.  III.,  pp.  266,  267. 

2  St.  Luke,  v.  7. 


he  said,  by  this,  and  the  instance  of  Selwyn,  prove  our  recogni- 
tion of  the  unity  of  the  Church:  colonial  and  Irish,  etc. 

One  objection  to  Magee  is,  that  his  appointment  would  give 
us  nothing,  and  that  is  a  great  objection. 

The  Queen  prevailed,  and  Magee  was  appointed  Bishop,1 
Champneys  being  preferred  to  the  Deanery  of  Lichfield. 
For  the  Deanery  of  St.  Paul's,  Disraeli  had  a  very  suitable 
man  of  his  own,  Mansel,  the  distinguished  Oxford  meta- 
physician, who  had  been  associated  with  him  on  the  Press, 
and  who  shared  and  powerfully  expressed  the  scepticism 
which  Disraeli  entertained  of  the  value  of  the  conclusions 
of  German  professors  and  theologians.  The  author  of 
Phrontisterion  was  a  congenial  spirit  with  the  orator  of 
the  Sheldonian  theatre. 

The  appointments  of  Magee  and  Mansel  gave  very  gen- 
eral satisfaction,  approval  being  expressed  by  Derby,  Hardy, 
and  even  Wilberforce.  The  latter's  favourite  candidate, 
Leighton,  the  Warden  of  All  Souls,  though  disappointed  of 
a  Bishopric,  was  made  a  Canon  of  Westminster;  and  the 
High  Churchmen  were  further  placated  by  the  appointment 
of  the  energetic  Gregory  to  a  Canonry  at  St.  Paul's,  and  of 
the  scholarly  Bright  to  Mansel's  chair  at  Oxford  —  the  lat- 
ter appointment  pressed  by  Beauchamp,  who  warned  Dis- 
raeli that  the  High  Church  party  other  than  '  the  old  port- 
winers '  were  holding  aloof  from  the  political  contest.  But 
a  much  more  difficult  and  delicate  selection  was  now  laid 
upon  Disraeli.  In  the  end  of  October  the  Archbishop  of 
Canterbury,  Dr.  Longley,  died. 

To  Lord  Derby. 

Secret.  10,  DOWNING  STREET,  Nov.  2,  1868. —  Returning  from 
Balmoral,  I  was  disappointed  in  the  opportunity  of  consulting 
you  on  two  important  matters :  the  Church  appointments  then 

i  Magee,  at  the  time  Dean  of  Cork,  had  written  to  the  Prime  Minis- 
ter, '  asking  him,  when  filling  up  the  deanery  of  St.  Paul's,  to  give 
him  one  of  the  appointments  that  might  be  vacant  in  so  doing.'  Ma- 
gee's  biographer  notes  the  touch  of  humour  in  Disraeli's  reply,  '  begin- 
ning with  a  refusal  of  the  Dean's  modest  request  on  the  first  page, 
and  then  making  the  offer  of  the  bishopric  when  he  turned  over  the 
leaf.'  MacDonnell's  Magee,  Vol.  I.,  p.  197. 


pending,  and  my  address,  of  which  I  would  have  brought  you 
the  draft.  However,  I  got  through  those  difficulties,  and  pretty 

Now  comes  a  greater  one:  the  Archbishop. 

My  Church  policy  was  this:  to  induce,  if  possible,  the  two 
great  and  legitimate  parties  to  cease  their  internecine  strife, 
and  to  combine  against  the  common  enemies:  Hits  and  Rats. 
This  could  only  be  done  by  a  fair  division  of  the  patronage, 
and  though  at  first  beset  by  great  difficulties,  arising  from  party 
jealousy  and  suspicion,  I  think  I  have  now  succeeded  in  getting 
them  well  to  work  together.  .  .  . 

As  I  did  not  want  a  very  High  Churchman,  or  an  Evangelist, 
for  Archbishop,  the  materials  from  which  I  could  select  were 
very  few.  I  was  disposed  in  favour  of  the  Bishop  of  Gloucester,1 
whom  I  don't  personally  know,  but  was  pleased  by  his  general 
career  since  your  accession  to  office,  and  also  by  a  correspon- 
dence which  he  held,  subsequently,  with  me,  arising  out  of  the 
Ritual  Commission.  It  seemed  to  me  very  desirable  that  the 
new  Primate  should  not  be  mixed  up  with  all  the  recent  contro- 
versies, and  clerical  fracas,  which  have  damaged  all  concerned 
in  them.  I  sent  my  proposal,  with  well  digested  reasons:  the 
boxes  crossed,  and  one  came  to  me  saying  that  there  could  be 
no  doubt  what  was  to  be  done,  as  there  was  only  one  man  fit 
for  the  position :  the  Bishop  of  London.2  Then  came  another 
box,  mine  having  been  received,  still  more  decided,  if  that  could 
be.  Now  I  think  the  Bishop  of  London  an  appointment  which 
will  please  neither  of  the  great  parties  —  and  only  a  few  clerical 
freethinkers,  who  think,  and  perhaps  justly,  he  may  be  their 
tool,  and  some  Romanisers — 'for  he  supports  sisterhoods  as 
strongly  as  Oxford  or  Sarum.3  I  wrote  in  reply,  acknowledg- 
ing the  two  letters,  and  saying  merely  they  should  have  my 
most  serious  attention,  and  I  have  been  employed  all  this  morn- 
ing in  drawing  up  a  statement  touching  the  whole  case,  which 
will  be  received,  by  the  person  to  whom  it  is  addressed,  on  her 
arrival  on  Thursday.  That  will  be  followed,  probably,  by  an 
audience  on  Saturday,  and  before  that  time  I  should  be  deeply 
obliged  if  you  would  give  me,  through  the  ever  faithful  secre- 
tary,4 some  hints,  and  your  general  impressions.  .  .  . 

From  Lord  Derby. 

Confidential.  ENOWSLEY;  Nov.  3,  1868.. — .  .  .  I  am  afraid 
that  I  can  do  but  little  towards  relieving  you  from  the  difficulty 
in  which  you  are  now  placed.  ...  I  agree  in  your  general 

i  Ellicott.  2  Tait.  a  W.  K.  Hamilton.  *  Lady  Derby. 


principle  of  dealing,  in  respect  to  patronage,  with  the  rival 
parties  in  the  Church;  and  you  have  been  fortunate  in  having 
at  your  disposal  a  succession  of  appointments  which  has  enabled 
you  to  distribute  your  favours  with  some  appearance  of  im- 
partiality. But  the  appropriation  of  the  highest  prize  of  all 
can  hardly  be  hoped  to  give  general  satisfaction,  and  you  must 
be  satisfied  if  it  does  not  produce  general  discontent.  Your 
range  of  choice  is  limited,  and  your  materials  by  no  means  first- 
rate.  I  cannot  agree  with-  H.M.  that  the  Bishop  of  London 
would  be  either  a  popular  or  a  judicious  selection.  I  am  per- 
haps prejudiced  against  the  man,  but  I  must  confess  that  I 
have  no  confidence  in  his  judgment.  If  you  should  be  finally 
driven  to  promote  him,  which  I  hope  will  not  be  the  case,  the 
Bishop  of  Oxford,  though  ineligible  for  the  Primacy,  would 
make  a  very  good  and  useful  Bishop  of  London. 

With  the  Bishop  of  Gloucester,  whom  you  name,  my  acquaint- 
ance is  only  slight.  He  is  undoubtedly  a  learned  man,  and  I 
believe  a  sound  Churchman,  rather  inclining  to  the  High  School. 
But  I  should  doubt  his  having  much  strength  of  character,  and 
he  has  a  foolish  voice  and  manner  which  make  him  appear  weaker 
than  I  believe  he  really  is.  He  is  said,  and  I  believe  with  reason, 
to  be  entirely  under  the  influence  of  the  Bishop  of  Oxford.  Of 
the  other  Bishops,  has  the  name  ever  occurred  to  you  of  my 
Bishop  of  Bochester,  Claughton?  If  his  opinions  are  not  too 
High  Church,  he  has  many  qualifications  for  the  office  —  and  I 
think  that  you  might  do  worse.  Harold  Browne,  the  Bishop 
of  Ely,  is  a  man  of  very  high  reputation  —  but  I  do  not  know  him 
personally,  even  by  sight. 

To   Lord  Derby. 

Secret.  10,  DOWNING  STREET,  Nov.  12,  1868. —  Harold  Browne 
is  offered  as  a  compromise.  But  what  do  I  gain  by  Harold 
Browne?  While  H.M.  will  only  be  annoyed.  I  could  win,  if 
I  had  a  man.  I  don't  know  personally  the  Bishop  of  Gloucester 
—  and  you  can't  fight  for  a  person  you  don't  know.  I  proposed 
him  as  one  appointed  by  Palmerston,  and  yet  not  an  Evangelical, 
and  certainly,  from  his  correspondence,  not  a  follower  of  the 
Bishop  of  Oxford.  The  Bishop  of  Oxford  is  quite  out  of  the 
running,  so  great  is  the  distrust  of  him  by  the  country.  That 
is  the  great  fact,  that  has  come  out  of  the  canvass  of  England. 
I  thought,  last  night,  of  taking  the  Bishop  of  London,  and 
countervailing  his  neological  tendencies,  which  I  think  form  the 
great  objection  to  him,  and,  of  course,  his  great  recommenda- 


tion  in  the  eyes  of  H.M.,  by  raising  Jackson1  to  London.    He 
is  orthodox  and  Protestant.  .  .  . 

Tait  was  a  Liberal  and  a  Broad  Churchman,  unacceptable 
to  Disraeli  on  the  score  both  of  politics  and  of  theology. 
Accordingly  Disraeli  fought  with  passion  against  his  ap- 
pointment, coming  out  of  the  royal  closet,  it  was  noticed,  in 
great  excitement,  and  telling  Malmesbury  l  Don't  bring  any 
more  bothers  before  me;  I  have  enough  already  to  drive  a 
man  mad.'  But,  having  no  really  satisfactory  candidate  of 
his  own,  he  had  to  give  way  in  the  end;  and  the  Church 
thereby  gained  a  statesman  on  the  throne  of  Canterbury, 
but  one  whose  want  of  sympathy  with  the  Oxford  school 
impaired  his  usefulness  in  the  troubled  times  which  followed. 
Tait,  in  his  diary,  described  with  a  dry  humour  his  inter- 
view with  the  Prime  Minister  after  the  nomination. 

He  harangued  me  on  the  state  of  the  Church;  spoke  of  ration- 
alists, explained  that  those  now  so  called  did  not  follow  Paulus. 
He  spoke  at  large  of  his  desire  to  rally  a  Church  party,  which, 
omitting  the  extremes  of  rationalism  and  ritualism,  should  unite 
all  other  sections  of  the  Church;  alluded  to  his  Church  appoint- 
ments as  aiming  at  this  —  Champneys,  Merivale,2  Wordsworth, 
Gregory,  Leighton,  myself,  Jackson.  He  promised  to  support 
a  Church  Discipline  Bill,  but  deprecated  its  being  brought  in 
by  Lord  Shaftesbury.  Remarked  that,  whether  in  office  or  out, 
he  had  a  large  Church  party.  ...  I  stated  my  views  shortly, 
and  we  separated.3 

For  the  see  of  London  Dean  Wellesley  told  Wilberforce 
that  Disraeli  proposed  Christopher  Wordsworth,  the  nephew 
of  the  poet,  the  learned  Canon  of  Westminster.  '  The 
Queen  objected  strongly;  no  experience;  passing  over  Bish- 
ops, etc;  then  she  suggested  Jackson,  and  two  others,  not 
you,  because  of  Disraeli's  expressed  hostility ;  and  Disraeli 
chose  Jackson.'  Though  Jackson  made  a  good  Bishop  of 
London,  Disraeli  had  better  have  taken  Derby's  advice  and 
proposed  Wilberforce,  whom  the  Queen  would  have  ac- 
cepted. Wilberforce's  energy  and  organising  power,  his 

1  Bishop  of  Lincoln. 

2  The  historian,  appointed  Dean  of  Ely. 
s  Tait's  Life,  Vol.  I.,  p.  536. 


knowledge  of  the  world  and  of  society,  his  high  reputation 
and  influence  in  the  Church,  would  have  made  him  almost 
an  ideal  Bishop  for  London.  Manners,  writing  to  Disraeli 
two  years  later  about  the  lament  in  the  General  Preface  to 
the  novels  that  no  Churchman  equal  to  the  occasion  had 
arisen  from  the  Oxford  movement,  says :  *  I  doubt  whether 
a  Churchman  was  not  produced  by  the  Oxford  movement  — 
sufficiently  a  statesman,  with  all  his  faults,  to  have  helped 
you  greatly;  and  I  have  never  understood  why,  when,  for 
reasons  I  can  appreciate,  you  sent  Tait  to  Lambeth,  you 
did  not  transfer  Wilberforce  to  London.'  The  reason  was 
that,  as  appears  in  letter  after  letter,  Disraeli  was  told,  from 
the  most  divergent  quarters,  that  public  opinion  throughout 
the  country  would  resent  the  appointment,  and  visit  its 
displeasure  at  the  polls  on  the  Government  responsible  for 
it.  It  must  be  borne  in  mind  that,  though  the  world  knows 
now  how  carefully  and  loyally  the  Bishop  kept  the  via 
media,  of  Anglicanism,  he  was  still  in  1868  outside  his  dio- 
cese widely  suspected  of  Homeward  tendencies,  which  had 
operated  with  fatal  effect  in  his  own  family.  Since  he 
became  Bishop  all  three  of  his  brothers,  and  two  brothers- 
in-law,  of  whom  Manning  was  one,  had  joined  the  Roman 
Church ;  and  in  this  very  year  the  example  was  followed  by 
his  daughter  and  her  husband.  Disraeli  can  hardly  be 
blamed  for  not  facing  the  threatened  storm;  but,  had  he 
shown  his  wonted  courage  here,  he  would  not  have  lost  a 
useful  ally  or  alienated  a  powerful  party. 

For  the  appointment  of  Wordsworth  to  the  Bishopric 
of  Lincoln,  of  Bright  to  a  professorship,  and  of  Leighton 
and  Gregory  to  canonries,  did  not  console  the  High  Church 
party  for  the  slight  to  their  principal  champion ;  and  Wilber- 
force himself  could  not  hide  the  bitterness  of  his  disappoint- 
ment. He  wrote  in  his  diary,  *  I  am  trying  to  discipline 
myself,  but  feeling  the  affront,'  and  to  a  friend,  '  In  myself 
I  really  thank  God ;  it  very  little  disturbs  me.  I  in  my  rea- 
son apprehend  that  by  the  common  rule  in  such  matters  I 
had  no  right  to  be  so  treated ;  but  I  am  really  thankful  in 


feeling  so  cool  about  it.'  He  had  resented  Gladstone's  new 
policy  and  had  been  working  cordially  with  Disraeli  to  save 
the  Irish  Church.  But  now  he  resumed  his  former  inti- 
mate association  with  Gladstone,  who  became  Prime  Min- 
ister next  month;  and  he  was  unsparing  in  condemnation 
of  his  rival.  He  immediately  began  to  contrast  the  two 
men  greatly  to  Disraeli's  disadvantage,  '  Gladstone  as  ever : 
great,  earnest,  and  honest ;  as  unlike  the  tricky  Disraeli  as 
possible ' ;  and  to  smooth  the  way  for  Gladstone's  Irish 
policy,  by  writing  to  Archbishop  Trench,  of  Dublin,  urging 
him  to  arrange  a  compromise.  Trench  had  suggested  delay, 
till  Gladstone  had  realised  the  difficulties  before  him.  The 
Bishop  replied  that  this  would  be  a  wise  course  if  they  were 
dealing  with  l  a  master  of  selfish  cunning  and  unprincipled 
trickery,'  'a  mere  mystery-man  like  Disraeli,'  whose  whole 
idea  was  '  to  use  the  Church  to  keep  himself  in  office  ' ;  but 
happily  in  Gladstone  they  had  '  a  man  of  the  highest  and 
noblest  principle.'  *  And  when  Lothair  was  published,  in 
which  he  himself  was  portrayed,  the  Bishop  wrote :  '  My 
wrath  against  D.  has  burnt  before  this  so  fiercely  that  it 
seems  to  have  burnt  up  all  the  materials  for  burning  and  to 
be  like  an  exhausted  prairie-fire  —  full  of  black  stumps, 
burnt  grass,  and  all  abominations.'  Fortunately  the  Bishop 
was  translated  in  1869,  on  Gladstone's  motion,  from  Oxford 
to  Winchester,  so  that  he  no  longer  had  among  his  flock  the 
statesman  with  whom  he  had  for  a  time  so  zealously  co- 
operated, but  of  whom,  since  his  disregard  of  his  diocesan's 
claims  to  promotion,  he  had  come  to  think  so  meanly. 

In  the  general  result,  with  the  conspicuous  exception  of 
the  neglect  of  Wilberforce,  the  appointments  for  which  Dis- 
raeli was  responsible  were  not  unsatisfactory ;  and  his  policy 
of  fair  division  and  of  a  clear  insistence  on  the  national 
character  of  the  Church  was  a  right  policy.  But  it  cannot 
be  denied  that  in  its  application  he  pursued  a  seesaw  and 
zigzag  course,  and  laid  himself  open  to  Dean  Wellesley's 
criticism  that  '  he  rode  the  Protestant  horse  one  day ;  then 

i  Wilberforce,  Vol.  III.,  pp.  277-279. 


got  frightened  it  had  gone  too  far  and  was  injuring  the 
county  elections,  so  he  went  right  round.'  The  result  was 
that,  so  far  as  his  object  was  a  political  one,  he  did  not  suc- 
ceed in  it ;  there  was  no  such  union  at  the  General  Election, 
as  he  hoped  for,  of  all  parties  in  the  Church  to  resist  Glad- 
stone's Irish  policy.  '  Bishoprics,  once  so  much  prized,  are 
really  graceless  patronage  now,'  he  wrote  ruefully  during  the 
year  to  Derby ;  '  they  bring  no  power.'  The  Crown  had  in- 
tervened in  Church  patronage  in  a  decisive  way,  largely  ow- 
ing to  the  Minister's  ignorance ;  had  carried  the  Archbishop 
of  its  choice  directly  in  his  teeth,  and  had  proved  the  deter- 
mining factor  in  other  appointments,  including  the  striking 
nomination  of  Magee.  Both  in  the  principles  which  Her 
Majesty  laid  down,  and  in  the  divines  whom  she  recom- 
mended, the  Queen's  intervention  must  command  respect, 
and  it  attained,  as  well  as  deserved,  success. 

Disraeli  maintained  intimate  and  confidential  relations 
with  his  predecessor  Derby  throughout  this  Government,  and 
had  constant  recourse  in  all  difficulties  to  his  counsel.  He 
even  submitted,  the  Queen's  Speech  to  be  delivered  on  the 
prorogation  of  Parliament  to  his  revision.  Derby  made 
considerable  alterations  in  the  form,  though  not  in  the 
substance,  of  the  draft;  but  only  advanced  these  as  sug- 
gestions, and  hoped  Disraeli  would  not  think  he  had  taken 
too  great  liberties  with  his  '  skeleton.'  Sensible  as  he  was 
of  his  obligations  to  Derby  and  the  house  of  Stanley,  Dis- 
raeli sought,  as  Prime  Minister,  for  opportunities  of  show- 
ing his  gratitude  and  friendship.  Early  in  the  spring  he 
paid  his  old  chief  the  graceful  compliment  of  placing  at  his 
disposal  the  lord-lieutenancy  of  Middlesex ;  and  at  the  close 
of  the  session  he  found  an  official  vacancy  for  Frederick 
Stanley,  Derby's  younger  son,  afterwards  War  Secretary, 
Governor-General  of  Canada,  and  the  sixteenth  earl.  Derby 
declined  the  lord-lieutenancy,  as  he  had  no  local  connection 
with  the  county,  and  no  local  interest ;  but  he  was  gratified 
by  the  political  opening  afforded  to  his  son. 


To  Lord  Derby.    . 

Private.  10,  DOWNING  STREET,  July  31,  1868. —  Parliament 
being  prorogued,  I  have  had  the  pleasure  of  offering  the  Civil 
Lordship  of  the  Admiralty  to  Frederick,  and  shall  be  gratified 
if  he  accept  it.  At  any  rate,  it  is  an  introduction  to  official 
life,  and  his  tenure  of  office  may  last  longer  than  some  imagine. 

We  work  at  the  elections  with  ceaseless  energy.  I  have  got 
the  matter  out  of  the  hands  of  Spofforth,  and  placed  in  those 
of  a  limited,  but  influential,  Committee  of  gentlemen,  and  it 
seems  to  work  very  well. 

Lord  Abercorn  is  to  be  an  Irish  Duke,  and  Mayo  our  Indian 
Viceroy:  so  the  Irish  Government  may  be  satisfied.  What  the 
Irish  title  is  to  be  I  can't  tell  you.  The  Prince  of  Wales  wants 
it  to  be  Ulster,  of  which  he  is  Earl,1  but  as  I  would  not  counte- 
nance this,  H.R.H.  is  to  go  to  the  Queen  to-morrow  anent.  I 
should  think  the  regal  brow  would  be  clouded,  and  that  our 
friend  must  be  content  with  being  Duke  of  Abercorn.  He  is 
very  happy,  and  six  inches  taller. 

I  had  thought  of  offering  the  Irish  Secretaryship  to  Elcho, 
a  friend  of  Lord  Abercorn,  but  His  Excellency  seems  to  think 
that  the  political  connection  might  disturb  the  fervor  of  the 
friendship.  If  so,  I  think  it  must  be  John  Manners,  who  is 
sensible,  conciliatory,  and  very  painstaking,  and  certainly  will 
not  '  override '  Abercorn,  or  quarrel  with  anybody.  Then  Elcho 
might  have  J.M.'s  place.  But  would  he  take  it  without  the 
Cabinet  ?  And  Henry  Lennox  will  resign  if  he  be  not  promoted ! 
Nothing  seems  to  satisfy  him,  and  if  he  had  Henry  Corry's 
place,  he  would  soon  want  mine.2 

The  Cabinet  to-day  was  very  tranquil,  a  great  contrast  to 
three  or  four  months  ago.  Cairns  is  a  great  success  at  the 
Council  Board. 

Short  as  was  Disraeli's  term  of  office,  he  had  not  merely 
to  give  an  Archbishop  to  Canterbury,  but  a  Governor-Gen- 
eral both  to  Canada  and  to  India.  The  first  of  these  two 
posts  were  offered  in  succession  to  Mayo  and  to  Manners, 
but  was  eventually  filled  by  a  seasoned  administrator,  Sir 
John  Young,  afterwards  Lord  Lisgar,  who  had  been  High 
Commissioner  for  the  Ionian  Islands  and  Governor  of  New 

1  Derby  pointed  out  in  reply  that  it  was  the  Duke  of  Edinburgh, 
and  not  the  Prince  of  Wales,  who  was  Earl  of  Ulster. 

2  Wilson  Patten,  created  at  the  close  of  the  Government  Lord  Win- 
marleigh,  was  ultimately  appointed  Irish  Secretary. 


South  Wales.  Mayo,  who  had  done  yeoman  service  for  his 
country  and  his  party  as  thrice  Chief  Secretary  for  Ireland, 
was  sent  to  India. 

From  Lord  John  Manners. 

April  30,  '68. —  In  spite  of  all  your  encouraging  kindness,  for 
which  I  shall  never  cease  to  be  grateful,  I  have  finally  decided — 
mainly  on  private  and  family  grounds  —  to  decline  the  great 
post  offered  to  me  last  week;  and  have  written  to  the  Duke  of 
Buckingham  to  that  effect. 

Though  private  considerations  have  determined  this  decision, 
I  own  I  derive  satisfaction  from  thinking  that  it  will  enable 
me  to  remain  by  your  side  to  the  end  of  the  most  eventful 
chapter  in  our  political  life. 

Let  it  terminate  as  it  may,  it  will  always  be  to  me  a  source 
of  unalloyed  pleasure  to  have  seen  you  at  the  summit  of  power, 
and  to  have  had  my  humbler  fortunes  linked  —  unbrokenly  —  to 

To  Sir  Stafford  Northcote. 

10,  DOWNINQ  STREET,  June  9,  1868. —  I  could  have  wished  to 
jhave  replied  to  your  letter  x  instantly,  but  every  moment,  yester- 
day, was  taken  up.  Although  your  loss  to  me  would  be  not 
easily  calculable,  I  don't  think  I  could  allow  it  to  weigh  against 
your  personal  interests,  for  which,  I  trust,  I  have  always  shown 
a  due  regard.  But  the  Indian  V.  Royalty  has  always  been 
destined  for  Lord  Mayo,  who  did  not  wish  to  return  to  Ireland, 
and  I  spoke  to  Lord  Derby,  with  that  view,  when  his  Govern- 
ment was  formed,  and  when  you  did  not  occupy  that  great 
office  of  State,2  which  you  have  since  administered  with  so 
much  satisfaction  to  the  country,  and  with  so  much  credit  to 
yourself.  Cartainly,  Lord  Mayo's  administration  of  Ireland 
affords  no  reason  for  disturbing  the  prospect  in  which,  for  a 
considerable  time,  he  has  been  permitted  to  indulge,  and,  being 
myself  now  at  the  head  of  affairs,  it  would  hardly  become  me 
to  shrink  from  the  fulfilment  of  expectations,  which  I  sanctioned 
and  supported  as  a  subordinate  member  of  the  Ministry. 

I   could   not  speak   to   you   on   this   matter  before,   because, 

1  Northcote's  name  had  been  canvassed,  among  others,  as  that  of  a 
possible  Viceroy;  and  he  wrote  to  say  that,  while  he  would  very  much 
like  to  go  to  India,  he  did  not  put  himself  forward  as  a  candidate,  and 
would  most  cheerfully   accept   Disraeli's  decision.     Only,   for   family 
reasons,  he  should  like  to  know,  as  soon  as  might  be  convenient,  what 
the  decision  was. 

2  Indian  Secretary. 


when  the  prospects  of  the  Ministry  were  not  as  bright  as  they 
are  at  present,  Lord  Mayo  had  nearly  made  up  his  mind  to 
go  to  Canada,  when  the  next  mail  brought  the  news,  that  the 
wise  Parliament  of  the  Dominion  had  reduced  the  salary  of  the 
Governor-General  from  £10,000  to  £6,000  per  annum,  thereby 
depriving  themselves  of  ever  having  the  benefit  of  the  services 
of  a  first-class  man.1 

You  did  quite  right  in  addressing  me  directly  and  frankly, 
and  I  reply  to  you  in  the  same  spirit.  I  should  be  more  than 
sorry  to  occasion  you  disappointment,  because  I  highly  esteem 
and  regard  you,  and  am  anxious,  so  far  as  it  is  in  my  power, 
to  advance,  and  secure,  your  fortunes. 

How  well  Mavo  justified  Disraeli's  choice  is  recorded  in 
English  and  Indian  history.  But  the  Liberals,  indignant 
at  the  wealth  of  patronage  that  had  fallen  to  a  Ministry 
which  they  maintained  to  have  no  constitutional  claim  to 
remain  in  office,  raised  a  loud  outcry  at  the  appointment 
in  their  press,  and  intimated  in  no  uncertain  fashion  that, 
if  they  got  a  majority  in  the  election,  they  would  cancel  it. 
This  was  no  mere  journalistic  bravado,  as  has  sometimes 
been  asserted  since.  The  correspondence  of  the  Liberal 
leaders  shows  that  cancellation  was  seriously  contemplated. 
'  If  you  cancel  Mayo's  appointment,'  Granville  wrote  to 
Gladstone  on  September  28,  '  what  do  you  think  of  Salis- 
bury ?  It  would  be  a  teat  taken  away  from  our  pigs,  but  it 
would  weaken  the  Opposition.'  '  I  think  the  suggestion  an 
excellent  one,'  Gladstone  replied.2  If  Mayo  was  after  all 
left  undisturbed,  and  the  Duke  of  Argyll,  Gladstone's  In- 
dian Secretary,  was  able  to  assert  that  no  advice  to  remove 
him  was  given  to  the  Crown  or  contemplated  by  the  Glad- 
stone Government,  the  reason  may  be  found  in  the  following 
letters : 

From  Lord  Stanley. 

Private.  F.O.,  Sept.  17,  1868. —  I  hear  from  more  than  one 
quarter,  and  in  a  manner  that  leaves  no  doubt  on  my  mind  as 
to  the  truth  of  the  report,  that  the  Opposition  have  decided,  in 

1  The  Queen  was  advised  to  withhold  her  assent  to  the  bill  reducing 
the  salary,  which  accordingly  remains  £10,000  per  annum. 

2  Fjtzmaurice's  Granville,  Vol.  I.,  p.  541, 

1868]         DISRAELI  AND  LEECH'S  CHILDREN  77 

event  of  their  coming  in  before  the  end  of  the  year,  to  remove 
Mayo,  even  if  he  should  have  sailed,  from  the  Gov.-Gen.ship.  .  .  . 
I  think  this  worth  naming,  as  you  may  be  able  to  stop  it 
in  limine  by  getting  the  Queen  to  express  her  disapproval.  The 
step  is  an  extremely  unusual  one  —  the  only  precedent  being  the 
removal  of  Lord  Heytesbury  to  make  way  for  Lord  Auckland, 
which  caused  the  Afghan  War.  .  .  . 

To  Lord  Stanley. 

BALMORAL,  Sept.  21,  1868. — .  .  .  Your  hint  about  Mayo  was 
a  propos,  for  our  Mistress  herself  touched  upon  the  business. 
She  thinks  the  contemplated  recall  of  her  representative  will 
weaken  her  name  and  authority  in  India :  as  if  she  were  a  mere 
pageant!  This  is  the  Constitutional  view,  and  I  confirmed  it. 
There  is  a  material  difference  in  recalling  a  Govr.-Genl.  of  the 
Company  and  the  Vice-Roy  of  the  Sovereign.  Clearly. 

H.M.  recurs  to  her  hope,  that,  whatever  happens,  we  shall 
gain  a  material  accession  of  strength.  I  told  her  the  truth  — 
that  all  the  stories  about,  respecting  the  result  of  the  General 
Election,  were  alike  untrustworthy:  that  the  great  body  of  the 
new  constituency  in  towns  were  unpledged :  that  the  new  electors 
in  the  counties  were  reported  as  singularly  conservative;  and 
the  victory,  at  the  last  moment,  would  be  to  the  party,  which 
was  wealthiest,  and  best  organised. 

She  does  not  conceal,  from  me  at  least,  her  personal 
wishes.  .  .  . 

Magnanimity  to  foes  and  gratitude  to  friends  were  among 
Disraeli's  most  notable  qualities ;  and  in  both  respects  power 
revealed  the  man.  In  all  the  early  stages  of  his  career  he 
had  been  held  up  to  ridicule  by  John  Leech  in  Punch  with 
a  mercilessness  which  was  far  removed  from  the  bonhomie 
with  which  the  artist  and  the  journal  treated  other  public 
men.  But  when  his  attention  was  called  in  1868  to  the  fact 
that  Leech's  widow,  who  had  been  granted  a  pension  by  the 
Liberal  Government,  was  dead,  and  that  his  two  children 
were  more  than  ever  in  want  of  assistance,  he  had  no  hesita- 
tion in  continuing  the  pension  to  the  family,  remembering 
only  the  dead  artist's  genius  and  disregarding  the  persistent 
animosity  of  his  pencil.  His  enduring  gratitude  to  a  bene- 
factor was  manifested  in  a  still  more  striking  manner. 


For  many  years  after  the  caprice  of  the  Duke  of  Port- 
land, in  calling  in  the  money  advanced  by  the  Bentincks 
for  the  purchase  of  Hughenden,  had  thrown  Disraeli  back 
upon  the  moneylenders,1  his  private  affairs  were  in  an  un- 
satisfactory condition  and  he  was  greatly  hampered  by  the 
exorbitant  interest  on  his  apparently  still  accumulating 
debts.  In  the  winter  of  1862-1863  fortune  sent  him  a 
much-needed  relief.  The  Conservative  cause  in  the  North 
had  a  strong  supporter  in  a  Yorkshire  squire,  Andrew 
Montagu,  of  Melton,  Yorks,  and  Papplewick,  Notts;  son 
of'Fountayne  Wilson,  who  had  sat  in  Parliament  for  the 
undivided  county  of  York ;  and  representative,  in  the  female 
line,  of  the  famous  Charles  Montagu,  Earl  of  Halifax,  the 
Finance  Minister  of  William  III.  Andrew  Montagu  was 
a  bachelor  of  great  wealth  and  of  somewhat  eccentric  habits. 
The  story  runs  that  he  made  inquiries  in  that  winter  of  the 
Conservative  headquarters  as  to  how  best  he  could  use  his 
wealth  to  promote  the  success  of  his  party.  Among  other 
suggestions  he  was  told  that  a  rich  man  could  render  no 
more  acceptable  service  to  the  cause  than  by  buying  up  the 
debts  of  the  leader  in  the  Commons,  and  charging  him  only 
a  reasonable  interest  in  the  place  of  the  exactions  under 
which  he  was  suffering.  He  showed  himself  disposed  to 
entertain  the  idea,  and  was  put  by  Eose,  through  whom  the 
negotiation  was  carried  on,  into  communication  with  Dis- 
raeli's friend,  Baron  Lionel  de  Eothschild,  who  was  himself 
ready  to  help  Disraeli  pecuniarily,  but  who,  as  Disraeli 
wrote,  preferred  to  give,  not  lend,  to  his  friends.  Eoths- 
child and  Montagu  met,  with  the  result  that,  in  return  for 
a  mortgage  on  Hughenden,  accompanied,  it  may  be,  by 
some  guarantee  or  assurance  from  Eothschild,  Montagu 
assumed  the  whole  responsibility  for  Disraeli's  debts,  charg- 
ing him  apparently  merely  the  3  per  cent,  which  was  then 
the  interest  on  Consols  intsead  of  the  10  per  cent,  or  more 
that  he  was  previously  paying.  The  immensity  of  the 
service  thus  rendered  to  Disraeli  may  be  gauged  by  the 
i  See  Vol.  III.,  p.  152. 

1862-1868]  ANDREW  MONTAGU  79 

fact  that  lie  estimated  the  resulting  increase  in  his  annual 
income,  in  one  letter  at  £4,200,  and  in  another  at  £5,000. 
His  gross  income  in  1866  appears  to  have  been  nearly 
£9,000  a  year ;  but  by  that  time  he  had  received  £30,000  as 
Mrs.  Brydges  Willyams's  residuary  legatee.1 

Disraeli  was  anxious  to  show  his  gratitude  by  recommend- 
ing his  benefactor  for  a  peerage.  It  was  perhaps  rather 
a  hazardous  step;  but  Rose,  who  encouraged  his  chief, 
quoted  as  a  precedent  in  its  favour  the  Carrington  peerage, 
conferred  at  Pitt's  instance  on  Robert  Smith,  the  banker, 
to  whom  the  Minister  was  under  great  personal  and  pecuni- 
ary obligations.  He  advised  Disraeli  to  disregard  an  anony- 
mous letter  of  warning.  He  pointed  out  that  this  was  no 
case  of  an  obscure  man  of  recently  acquired  wealth.  Mon- 
tagu's father  had  formerly  refused  a  peerage,  and  he  him- 
self, though  eccentric,  was  a  man  of  great  possessions,  good 
family,  and  political  influence  in  the  county  of  York. 
Thus  reassured,  Disraeli  made  the  offer. 

To  Andrew  Montagu. 

BALMORAL  CASTLE,  Sept.  20,  1868. —  It  is  my  intention,  if 
agreeable  to  you,  to  recommend  Her  Majesty  to  confer  on  you 
the  dignity  of  the  Peerage. 

Altho',  unlike  your  father,  who  was  the  last  representative 
of  the  undivided  county  of  York,  you  have  not  chosen  to  avail 
yourself  of  a  seat  in  the  House  of  Commons,  your  vast  posses- 
sions, noble  lineage,  and  devotion  to  the  Conservative  party, 
fully  authorise  this  act  on  the  part  of  the  Queen,  as  one  in 
entire  conformity  with  the  social  custom,  and  the  Constitu- 
tional practice,  of  the  Realm. 

Montagu  declined  the  honour,  mainly  on  the  ground  that 
his  usefulness  to  Disraeli  and  to  the  Conservative  party  in 
the  forthcoming  elections  would  be  seriously  impaired  if  he 
accepted  a  title.  His  friends  in  Yorkshire,  where  he  was 
a  leading  worker  for  the  Conservative  cause,  would  think  he 
wanted  to  save  himself  from  a  sinking  ship.  In  other  cir- 

i  See  Vol.  III.,  ch.  13. 


cumstances  he  might  accept  a  favour  from  his  '  best  friend 
and  benefactor/  but  not  in  the  autumn  of  1868. 

The  election  was  to  be  fought  upon  domestic  issues,  and 
it  would  avail  Disraeli  little  with  the  new  electors  that 
he  was  able  to  boast,  with  good  reason,  that  a  great  im- 
provement had  supervened  in  our  foreign  relations  by  the 
substitution  of  Stanley  for  Russell  in  the  direction  of  our 
policy.  He  dwelt  on  this  improvement  on  more  than  one 
occasion,  but  especially  in  a  speech  at  Merchant  Taylors' 
Hall  in  June. 

When  we  acceded  to  office  the  name  of  England  was  a  name 
of  suspicion  and  distrust  in  every  Court  and  Cabinet.  There 
was  no  possibility  of  that  cordial  action  with  any  of  the  Great 
Powers  which  is  the  only  security  for  peace;  and,  in  conse- 
quence of  that  want  of  cordiality,  wars  were  frequently  oc- 
curring. But  since  we  entered  upon  office,  and  public  affairs 
were  administered  by  my  noble  friend  [Stanley]  ...  I  say  that 
all  this  has  changed;  that  there  never  existed  between  England 
and  foreign  Powers  a  feeling  of  greater  cordiality  and  confi- 
dence tban  now  prevails ;  that  while  we  have  shrunk  from 
bustling  and  arrogant  intermeddling,  we  have  never  taken  refuge 
in  selfish  isolation;  and  the  result  has  been  that  there  never  was 
a  Government  in  this  country  which  has  been  more  frequently 
appealed  to  for  its  friendly  offices  than  the  one  which  now 

The  Liberals  could  only  reply  that  a  considerable  im- 
provement had  been  effected  in  Clarendon's  few  months  of 
office  after  Palmerston's  death,  and  reproach  Disraeli,  in 
Gladstone's  words,  with  his  language  of  '  inflated  and  exag- 
gerated eulogy.'  That  Stanley's  conduct  of  foreign  affairs 
was  eminently  satisfactory  was  the  general  opinion  of  all 

It  looked  at  one  time  as  if  Disraeli  would  have  the  good 
fortune  of  settling  the  acute  questions  which  separated  this 
country  from  America.  His  constant  yet  dignified  friend- 
liness to  the  United  States  throughout  the  troubled  period 
of  the  Civil  War  merited  such  a  success.  The  difficulty 
mainly  arose  from  the  negligence,  in  the  observance  of  neu- 


trality  during  that  period,  of  the  Palmerston  Administra- 
tion, and  especially  of  Russell  its  Foreign  Secretary,  who 
had  permitted  the  Alabama,  to  escape  from  a  British  port  to 
prey  on  American  commerce.  Russell  had  obstinately  main- 
tained the  correctness  of  his  action,  or  rather  inaction,  and 
refused  to  refer  the  questions  at  issue  to  arbitration  in  any 
form.  Stanley,  as  Foreign  Minister,  had  adopted  a  more 
reasonable  course.  He  was  prepared  to  accept  arbitration ; 
but  he  resisted,  with  practically  universal  approval  here,  an 
attempt  by  the  American  Secretary  of  State  to  include  in 
the  reference  the  question  of  the  recognition  by  this  country 
of  the  belligerent  rights  of  the  Confederate  States  —  a  recog- 
nition which  the  Federals  had  themselves  made  in  proclaim- 
ing a  blockade.  But  the  speech  in  which  Stanley  announced 
his  policy  in  March,  1868,  was  so  conciliatory  as  well  as 
firm  that  public  opinion  in  America  was  favourably  im- 
pressed ;  and,  as  a  result,  when  a  vacancy  arose  in  the  sum- 
mer in  the  United  States  Ministry  in  London,  a  notable 
man,  Senator  Reverdy  Johnson,  was  appointed  Minister, 
with,  as  Stanley  understood,  f  very  conciliatory  instruc- 
tions.' When  Johnson  arrived,  Stanley  was  in  Switzerland 
in  attendance  on  the  Queen ;  and  so  it  fell  to  Disraeli  to  show 
the  appreciation  of  the  British  Government.  He  immedi- 
ately asked  the  newcomer  down  to  Hughenden  to  meet  a 
distinguished  party,  including  the  hero  of  the  hour,  Sir 
Robert  Napier,  just  created  Lord  Napier  of  Magdala,  and 
the  historian  Lord  Stanhope. 

To  Lord  Stanley. 

HUGHENDEN,  Aug.  16,  1868. — .  .  .  Reverdy  J.  has  not  arrived. 
I  will  send  a  Secy,  the  moment  he  does,  and  ask  him  down 
here.  The  hero  of  Magdala  is  coming  on  the  24th.  I  should 
like  to  kill  them  with  the  same  stone. 

I  have  given  orders  for  the  new  Adm[iralt]y  Patent  to  be 
prepared,  as  I  hear  there  is  no  danger,  now,  of  any  election 
being  precipitated  at  Preston,  so  Fred,  will  be  soon  at  work: 
Sir  M.  Hicks  Beach  to  be  U.  Secy.  Home,  and  Jem  Lowther  to 
have  his  place  in  the  Poor  Law  Board,  which  he  will  represent 
in  the  Commons.  Thus  we  get  the  young  ones,  who  promise, 


into  the  firm,  and  they  will  sit  on  the  front  bench,  wherever 
that  may  be. 

To  Montagu  Corry. 

HUGHENDEN,  Aug.  21. — .  .  .  Understand  the  Minister  of  the 
Un:  States  comes  on  Tuesday.  .  .  .  Remember,  if  you  can,  the 
venison:  and  oh!  don't  forget  some  work  of  the  illustrious  and 
noble  author,1  bound,  and  let  me  have  it  in  time  to  put  book 
plate  in:  otherwise,  enemy  for  life.  .  .  . 

Aug.  23. — .  .  .  I  count  on  your  punctuality  to-morrow:  as  I 
hear  to-day,  there  is  to  be  a  triumphal  arch  at  the  entrance  of 
the  Park,  and  Mr.  Coates  and  the  tenantry  on  horseback  to 
escort  the  hero !  I  entirely  rely  on  your  being  the  Master  of  the 
Ceremonies.  .  .  . 

To  Lord  Stanley. 

HUGHENDEN,  Aug.  26,  '68. —  You  sent  me  a  most  amusing 
letter.  Do  you  know,  I  think  you  an  excellent  letter  writer; 
terse  and  picturesque;  seizing  the  chief  points,  and  a  sense  of 

Reverdy  Johnson  is  here,  and  gets  on  very  well.  The  ladies 
like  him.  He  has  eleven  children,  and  33  grandchildren:  so 
they  call  him  Grandpapa.  He  has  only  one  eye,  and  that  a  very 
ugly  one;  and,  yet,  at  a  distance,  looks  something  like  old  Lord 
Lansdowne,  after  a  somewhat  serious  illness.  His  manners, 
tho',  at  first,  rather  abrupt  and  harsh,  are  good;  he  is  self- 
possessed,  and  turns  out  genial. 

Stanhope,  who  is  here,  seems  to  delight  in  him,  and  thinks 
it  a  coup  de  maitre  to  have  asked  him  here,  and  that  the  Alabama 
and  all  other  claims  will  be  settled  forthwith.  His  visit  to 
Hughenden  is  to  our  joint  credit. 

They  all  like  Napier  of  Magdala  very  much:  he  is  interesting 
and  graceful,  and  tells  even  a  story  —  but  not  too  long :  Chinese 
or  Abyssinian. 

Stanley,  in  his  speech  in  March,  had  expressed  his  readi- 
ness to  consider  a  suggestion  which  Seward,  the  American 
Secretary  of  State,  had  thrown  out,  of  a  General  Commis- 
sion to  which  the  claims  of  both  countries  might  be  re- 
ferred. On  these  lines  a  convention  was  arranged  in  the 
autumn  with  Reverdy  Johnson,  with  a  special  proviso  for 
the  reference  of  the  Alabama  claims  to  a  neutral  Sovereign, 
in  case  the  Commission  should  not  agree.  Though  the 
i  Lord  Stanhope. 

1867-1868]    THE  EUROPEAN  KALEIDOSCOPE  83 

American  Minister  at  the  Lord  Mayor's  banquet  in  Novem- 
ber spoke  of  the  matter  as  settled,  the  good  work  was  not 
actually  completed  when  the  Government  went  out  of  office ; 
but  Clarendon,  the  new  Foreign  Secretary,  took  it  up  and 
brought  it  to  formal  signature  in  January.  Internal  poli- 
tics in  the  United  States,  however,  caused  the  convention 
to  miscarry.  It  had  to  pass  the  Senate,  then  in  antagonism 
to  President  Johnson  and  his  executive ;  and  the  electors  in 
the  autumn  had  chosen  a  new  President,  who  would  wish  to 
have  his  hands  free  when  he  assumed  office  in  March. 
More  also  might  be  hoped  from  England  under  a  Liberal 
than  under  a  Conservative  Administration.  All  these  con- 
siderations determined  the  Senate  to  reject  the  convention; 
and  the  difficulty  was  left  to  be  settled  in  a  costly  and  less 
satisfactory  fashion  by  the  Gladstone  Government  a  few 
years  later. 

It  is  natural  to  search  Disraeli's  correspondence  during 
this  period  of  office,  to  see  how  far  he  realised  the  catastro- 
phe which  was  impending  over  France  and  over  Europe, 
owing  to  the  rapid  rise  of  Prussian  power  and  the  jealousy 
with  which  it  was  regarded  to  the  west  of  the  Rhine.  In 
obedience  to  his  own  inclinations  and  the  Queen's  com- 
mand,1 he  kept  a  watchful  eye  on  the  situation  abroad ;  but 
it  cannot  be  maintained  that  he  saw  much  farther  than  his 
neighbours.  In  the  August  of  1867  the  French  Emperor 
and  Empress  had  paid  a  visit  to  the  Emperor  of  Austria 
at  Salzburg,  ostensibly  to  condole  with  him  on  the  tragic 
fate  in  Mexico  in  the  previous  June  of  the  Emperor  Maxi- 
milian, Francis  Joseph's  kinsman.  But  the  visit  also  sig- 
nified a  certain  drawing  together  of  two  Powers,  of  which 
one  had  been  defeated,  and  the  other  was  threatened,  by  the 
growing  might  of  Prussia.  Disraeli's  letters  of  that  date 
show  how  he  viewed  the  European  kaleidoscope. 

To  Lord  Stanley. 

HUGHENDEN,  Sept.  1,  1867. — .  .  .  I  have  heard  nothing  from 
i  See  Vol.  IV.,  p.  473. 


the  K[othschild]s.  I  observe,  they  never  write,  and  only  speak, 
indeed,  on  these  matters  in  a  corner,  and  a  whisper. 

To  form  a  judgment  of  the  present  state  of  affairs,  one  must 
be  greatly  guided  by  our  knowledge  of  the  personal  character 
of  the  chief  actors. 

The  Emperor  will  never  act  alone;  Bismarck  wants  quiet;  and 
Beust,1  tho'  vain,  is  shrewd  and  prudent. 

Gortc[hako]ff2  is  the  only  man,  who  could,  and  would,  act 
with  the  Emperor,  in  order  to  gain  his  own  ends,  on  which  he 
is  much  set,  but  if  the  Emperor  combines  with  him,  he  will  so 
alarm,  and  agonise,  Austria,  that  she  will  throw  herself  into 
the  arms  of  Prussia,  in  order  that  an  united  Germany  may  save 
her  from  the  destruction  of  all  her  Danubian  dreams. 

I  think  affairs  will  trail  on,  at  least  for  a  time,  and  the  longer 
the  time,  the  stronger  will  be  your  position.  In  such  a  balanced 
state  of  circumstances,  you  will  be  master.  .  .  . 

GROSVENOR  GATE,  Oct.  14,  1867. —  I  thought  it  wise  to  recon- 
noitre, and  called  on  our  friend3  yesterday. 

He  said  the  Emperor  was  no  longer  master  of  the  position, 
and  repeated  this  rather  significantly. 

In  time,  I  extracted  from  him,  that  they  had  information 
from  Paris,  that  there  was  a  secret  treaty  between  Prussia 
and  Italy. 

I  rather  expressed  doubts  about  this,  and  hinted  that  it  seemed 
inconsistent  with  what  had  reached  us,  that  there  was  an  under- 
standing between  France  and  Italy,  that  the  Emperor  should 
give  notice  of  his  course,  etc. 

He  was  up  to  all  this,  and  showed,  or  rather  read,  me  a  tele- 
gram, I  should  think  of  yesterday,  in  precisely  the  same  words 
as  you  expressed,  so  I  inferred  the  same  person  had  given  the 
news  to  Fane  and  his  correspondent.  Probably  Nigra4  himself. 

The  information  of  the  secret  treaty  had  arrived  subsequently, 
and  he  stuck  to  it,  and  evidently  believed  it.  ... 

The  Berlin  Ministry  have  consulted  another  member  of  the 
family  about  ironclads.  They  are  going  to  expend  l1/^  mill, 
sterling  immediately  thereon,  and  told  him  they  thought  of  hav- 
ing the  order  executed  in  America,  as,  in  case  of  war  with 
France,  the  ships  would  not  be  allowed  to  depart  if  they  were 
constructed  in  England.  .  .  . 

In  the  spring  of  1868  one  of  those  pretended  reductions 
of  Prussian  armament,  which  have  occasionally  been  adver- 

1  Austrian  Foreign  Minister.  8  Baron  Lionel  de  Rothschild. 

2  Russian  Chancellor.  *  Italian  Minister  in  Paris. 

1867-1868]     PRUSSIAN  ARMY  REDUCTIONS  85 

tised  since,  was  understood  to  be  in  progress  at  Berlin; 
and  Disraeli,  who  should  have  had  enough  experience  to 
disbelieve,  was  caught  by  a  story  which  was  rightly  treated 
by  Stanley  as  not  worth  serious  attention. 

To  Lord  Stanley. 

GROSVENOR  GATE,  April  23,  '68. — This  appears  to  me  important : 
Charles  [Rothschild]  is  virtually  Bismarck.1 

A  few  days  ago,  B.  was  all  fury  against  France,  and  declared 
that  France  was  resolved  on  war,  etc. :  but  on  Monday  the  Rs. 
wrote  to  Berlin,  that  they  understood  England  was  so  satisfied 
with  Prussia,  so  convinced,  that  she  really  wished  peace,  etc., 
that  England  would  take  no  step,  at  the  instance  of  France, 
which  would  imply  doubt  of  Prussia,  etc. 

This  is  the  answer.  I  can't  help  thinking,  that  you  have 
another  grand  opportunity  of  securing  the  peace  of  Europe 
and  establishing  your  fame.  .  .  . 

Charles  Rothschild  to  Baron  Rothschild. 

(Telegram.)  BERLIN,  April  23,  9.45  a.m. — Tell  your  friend 
that  from  the  1st  of  May  army  reduction  here  has  been  decided 
upon,  and  will  be  continued  on  a  larger  scale  if  same  system 
is  adopted  elsewhere.  Details  by  post. 

To  Lord  Stanley. 

10,  DOWNING  STREET,  April  24,  '68. —  Bernstorff  never  knows 
anything.2  I  am  sure  there  is  something  on  the  tapis,  and  I 
want  you  to  have  the  credit  of  it.  Vide  Reuter's  Tels:  in 
Times  of  to-day :  '  Berlin,  Ap :  23,'  rumor  on  the  Bourse,  etc. 

What  I  should  do  would  be  to  telegraph  to  Loftus,  and  bring 
things  to  a  point,  and  then  act. 

1  feel  sure  it  will  be  done  without  you,  if  you  don't  look 
sharp.     You  risk  nothing,  and  may  gain  everything. 

April  25,  4  o'c. —  I  feel  persuaded  it's  all  true.  They  have 
a  letter  this  morning  in  detail,  explaining  the  telegram,  and 
enforcing  it.  The  writer,  fresh  from  Bismarck  himself,  does 

i '  They  see  one  another  daily,'  was  Stanley's  note  on  the  letter.  To 
avoid  misunderstanding,  it  should  be  added  that  there  has  not  been, 
since  1901,  any  branch  of  the  house  of  Rothschild  in  the  German 

2  Stanley  had  replied  that  the  Ambassador  knew  nothing  of  intended 


not  speak  as  if  doubt  were  possible:  gives  all  tbe  details  of  tbe 
military  reductions  to  commence  on  1st  May,  and  the  larger 
ones,  wbicb  will  be  immediately  set  afoot,  if  France  responds. 
How  can  you  explain  all  this?    What  of  Loftus? 

From  Lord  Stanley. 

Private.  Sat.,  6  p.m.  [April  25,  1868]. — The  telegram  con- 
firms your  friend's  expectations.  I  spoke  to  La  Tour  [d'Au- 
vergne]1  in  anticipation  of  it,  '  Supposing  the  news  were  true, 
what  would  you  do  ? '  His  answer  was  discouraging.  He  says 
(and  indeed  the  tel.  confirms  him  in  that  respect)  that  Prussian 
reductions  mean  nothing.  '  What  security  do  they  give,  when  it 
is  "admitted  that  the  men  can  be  brought  back  in  a  week's  time, 
if  not  in  24  hours  ? '  I  am  compelled  to  own  there  is  some 
force  in  the  reply.  Still,  with  the  facts  actually  before  us,  we 
may  press  them  a  little. 

Throughout  the  summer  and  early  autumn  Disraeli  re- 
mained sanguine  of  success  at  the  polls.  Derby,  however, 
told  him  in  August  that  '  Stanley's  language  as  to  the  re- 
sult of  the  elections  is  absolute  despondency  —  he  hardly 
seems  to  think  the  battle  worth  fighting.' 

To  Lord  Derby. 

Private.  HUGHENDEN,  August  23,  1868. —  ...  I  heard  from 
Stanley 2  to-day,  who  seems  rather  jolly,  and  wonderfully  well. 
He  makes  excursions  in  the  mountains,  and  takes  very  long 
walks.  He  confesses  he  is  e  enjoying  himself.'  He  has  not 
seen  much  of  his  Royal  Mistress,  but  he  says  that,  on  Sunday 
last,  she  was  looking  very  well,  and  in  high  good  humor  —  does 
not  talk  much  politics,  but  highly  disapproves  of  the  Opposition, 
praises  her  Ministers,  and  is  very  anxious  that  the  elections 
should  go  right.  According  to  your  last,  she  did  not  get  hold 
of  the  right  man  to  encourage  her  on  that  subject;  but  the 
fact  is  Stanley  does  not  know  anything  about  it;  he  reads  news- 
papers and  believes  in  them;  and  as  they  are  all  written  by  the 
same  clique,  or  coteries  almost  identical  in  thought,  feeling, 
life  and  manners,  they  harp  on  the  same  string.  It  is  very 
difficult  to  say,  in  this  rapid  age,  what  may  occur  in  a  General 
Election,  which  will  not  now  happen  for  nearly  a  quarter  of  a 
year,  but  I  myself  should  not  be  surprised  if  the  result  might 

1  Of  the  French  Embassy  in  London. 

2  At  Lucerne  in  attendance  on  the  Queen. 

1868]         ADDRESS  TO  ELECTORS  OF  BUCKS  87 

astonish,  yet,  the  Bob  Lowes,  Higgins,  Delanes,  and  all  that 
class  of  Pall  Mall  journal  intellect.  .  .  . 

The  newspapers,  and  Stanley,  who,  like  the  newspapers, 
had  a  shrewd  instinct  for  average  opinion,  saw  more  clearly 
than  the  Conservative  leader  and  his  advisers  what  was 
going  to  happen.  The  party  Committee  to  whom  was  en- 
trusted the  duty  of  conducting  the  elections  assured  Dis- 
raeli that  there  was  reason  to  expect  that  the  Conservatives 
would  make  sufficient  gains  to  give  them  more  than  half 
the  House  of  Commons:  266  from  England,  51  from  Ire- 
land, and  13  from  Scotland ;  330  in  all  out  of  a  House  of 
658.  With  this  report  before  him  Disraeli,  absorbed  in 
the  heavy  and  responsible  work  of  Government,  was  ap- 
parently content  to  wait  in  comparative  passivity  for  the 
country's  verdict.  He  had  given  the  vote  to  a  hitherto  un- 
enfranchised million  of  his  fellow-countrymen,  belonging 
in  the  great  majority  to  the  working  classes ;  but  so  absolutely 
incapable  was  he  of  demagogic  arts  that  he  neglected,  almost 
to  a  culpable  degree,  to  endeavour  to  utilise  his  great  legis- 
lative achievement  to  secure  their  support  for  himself  and 
his  party.  The  Liberals  went  up  and  down  the  country 
explaining  that,  though  the  Conservatives  had  passed  the 
Reform  Bill,  the  thanks  of  the  new  voters  for  the  boon  were 
really  due  to  Gladstone  and  Bright;  and  Gladstone  and 
several  of  his  colleagues  undertook  impassioned  electoral 
campaigns  in  which  the  new  Irish  policy  of  their  party  was 
eloquently  expounded.  But  Disraeli  contented  himself 
with  issuing  an  address,  undoubtedly  of  some  length  and 
elaboration,  to  the  electors  of  Bucks ;  and,  as  there  was  no 
contest  in  his  constituency,  with  one  speech  on  the  hustings 
on  re-election  —  a  speech  which  was  not  even  delivered  till 
after  the  verdict  of  the  boroughs  had  been  largely  given 
against  his  Ministry. 

The  address  was  drafted  early  in  September,  and  during 
the  remainder  of  the  month  was  submitted  to  his  principal 
colleagues  for  criticism  and  emendation;  particularly  to 
Cairns,  on  whose  judgment  Disraeli  had  come  very  thor- 


oughly  to  rely,  and  whom  he  begged  '  to  give  his  whole  mind 
to  the  affair,  and,  if  necessary,  to  rewrite  it.'  No  serious 
alteration  was  suggested  by  Cairns  or  others,  and  at  the  be- 
ginning of  October  the  document  was  issued.  In  the  fore- 
front Disraeli  claimed  the  confidence  of  the  party  and  the 
country  as  Derby's  political  heir,  who  had  pursued  his  old 
chief's  policy  '  without  deviation.'  The  settlement  of  the 
Reform  question  on  broad  lines,  a  foreign  policy  which  es- 
tablished the  just  influence  of  England,  the  successful  ex- 
pedition to  Abyssinia,  and  the  strengthening  of  the  naval 
arid  military  forces,  were  all  put  forward  as  grounds  for 
support.  But,  owing  to  the  tactics  of  the  Liberal  party, 
Ireland  had  necessarily  to  be  the  main  subject  of  the  ad- 
dress. He  claimed  that  Ministers  had,  by  vigilance  and 
firmness,  baffled  the  Fenian  conspiracy,  and  had  also  pur- 
sued a  wise  policy  of  sympathy  and  conciliation.  But 
Gladstone  had  suddenly  proposed  '  a  change  of  the  funda- 
mental laws  of  the  realm '  and  '  a  dissolution  of  the  union 
between  Church  and  State.'  To  that  policy  Ministers  had 
offered,  and  would  offer,  l  an  uncompromising  resistance. 
The  connection  of  religion  with  the  exercise  of  political 
authority  is  one  of  the  main  safeguards  of  the  civilisation 
of  man.'  No  doubt  the  new  policy  was  only  to  be  partially 
applied  in  the  first  instance,  but  the  religious  integrity  of 
the  community  would  be  frittered  away.  Confiscation, 
too,  was  contagious.  Finally  the  religious  security  which 
was  the  result  of  the  royal  supremacy  would  be  endangered, 
and  Rome  alone  would  profit. 

Amid  the  discordant  activity  of  many  factions  there  moves 
the  supreme  purpose  of  one  Power.  The  philosopher  may  flatter 
himself  he  is  advancing  the  cause  of  enlightened  progress;  the 
sectarian  may  be  roused  to  exertion  by  anticipations  of  the 
downfall  of  ecclesiastical  systems.  These  are  transient  efforts; 
vain  and  passing  aspirations.  The  ultimate  triumph,  were  our 
Church  to  fall,  would  be  to  that  Power  which  would  substitute 
for  the  authority  of  our  Sovereign  the  supremacy  of  a  foreign 
Prince;  to  that  Power  with  whose  tradition,  learning,  discipline, 
and  organisation  our  Church  alone  has,  hitherto,  been  able  to 


cope,  and  that,  too,  only  when  supported  by  a  determined  and 
devoted  people. 

In  this  address  Disraeli  made  his  main  appeal  for  confi- 
dence to  the  Protestantism  of  the  nation.  There  is  no  doubt 
that,  misled  by  the  violent  outbreak  at  the  time  of  the  Papal 
aggression,  by  the  suspicions  arising  out  of  the  Roman  mis- 
sionary propaganda  in  society  during  the  sixties,  and  by 
the  popular  dislike  of  the  developments  of  Ritualism,  he 
overrated  the  electoral  strength  of  a  feeling  which  un- 
doubtedly was  widely  spread. 

As  the  election  drew  near,  the  signs  of  Liberal  victory 
became  more  evident,  though  Disraeli,  still  sanguine,  tried 
to  explain  them  away.  Derby,  surveying  the  field  now  from 
an  outside  standpoint,  anticipated  unsatisfactory  results  gen- 
erally, save  in  his  own  county  of  Lancashire.  '  I  am  afraid/ 
he  wrote  on  October  29,  '  that,  where  it  has  any  operation, 
the  minority  clause  will  operate  unfavourably  for  us  in  al- 
most every  instance,  and  there  appears  to  be  a  lamentable 
apathy  on  the  part  of  the  Conservatives  in  abandoning 
seats  which  might  fairly  be  contested,  or  even  of  availing 
ourselves  of  the  rival  pretensions  of  Liberal  candidates  for 
a  single  seat.' 

To  Montagu  Corry. 

Private.  10,  DOWNING  STREET,  Nov.  3,  '68. —  Might  not  these 
two  queries  lead  to  a  solution  of  the  difficulty  —  perhaps  the 
fallacy  —  of  yesterday's  speculations  on  the  General  Election? 

1 :  Was  there  ever  a  General  Election  in  which  half  the  seats 
•were  not  uncontested? 

2 :  Is  it  not  a  fact,  that  the  winning  side  always,  or  generally, 
gains  %rds.  of  the  contests? 

For  illustration,  examine  Palmerston's  two  dissolutions : 
China  —  and  1865.  And  then  Peel's  in  1834  when  he  gained 
100  seats:  and  dissolution  of  1841  when  he  gained  80. 

These  are  the  materials  from  which  an  expert  might  deduce 
instructive  results. 

If  I  could  have  them  before  my  audience  I  should  be  glad. 

Nov.  10. —  Send  me  a  line  of  news.  Our  men  seem  to  be 
running  away.  .  .  . 


On  the  very  eve  of  the  dissolution  came  the  celebration 
of  Lord  Mayor's  Day,  and  Disraeli  at  the  Guildhall  banquet 
gaily  affected  to  entertain  a  confident  expectation  that  he 
would  be  the  Lord  Mayor's  guest  in  the  following  Novem- 
ber, and  chaffed  the  Liberals  over  their  boastful  and  braggart 
methods  of  conducting  the  campaign. 

I  think  I  have  read  somewhere  that  it  is  the  custom  of 
undisciplined  hosts  on  the  eve  of  a  battle  to  anticipate  and 
celebrate  their  triumph  by  horrid  sounds  and  hideous  yells, 
the  sounding  of  cymbals,  the  beating  of  terrible  drums,  the 
shrieks  and  screams  of  barbaric  horns.  But  when  the  struggle 
comes,  and  the  fight  takes  place,  it  is  sometimes  found  that  the 
victory  is  not  to  them,  but  to  those  who  are  calm  and  collected : 
the  victory  is  to  those  who  have  arms  of  precision,  though  they 
may  make  no  noise  —  to  those  who  have  the  breech-loaders,  the 
rocket  brigade,  and  the  Armstrong  artillery. 

One  of  the  most  frequent  and  most  telling  weapons  which 
the  Opposition  used  in  their  campaign  was  the  assertion 
that  the  Government  were  quite  as  ready  to  disestablish 
the  Irish  Church  as  they  were  themselves.  '  There  is  as 
much  chance,'  wrote  Disraeli  in  the  vain  hope  of  silencing 
this  slander,  '  of  the  Tory  party  proposing  to  disestablish 
the  Protestant  Church  in  Ireland  as  there  is  of  their  pro- 
posing to  abrogate  the  Monarchy.'  It  was  a  great  misfor- 
tune that  Disraeli  could  not  bring  his  colleagues  to  agree  to 
concurrent  endowment;  but,  that  being  so,  Ministers,  how- 
ever ready  for  reform,  could  hardly  for  the  election  take  up 
any  other  position  than  that  of  simple  resistance  to  Glad- 
stone's plan  of  destruction.  This  was  naturally  distasteful 
to  the  reforming  section  of  the  Cabinet,  and  especially  to 
Stanley.  He  pressed  his  views  again  on  Disraeli  in  the  au- 
tumn, and  Disraeli  replied,  on  September  26,  from  Bal- 
moral :  '  I  highly  appreciate  your  criticisms,  as  you  well 
know;  but  I  think  your  views  about  the  Irish  Church  are 
of  a  school  of  thought  that  has  passed.  Excuse  my  pre- 
sumption. I  don't  think  compromise  is  now  practicable/ 
Both  Derby  and  Disraeli  feared  that  Stanley,  when  he  gave, 


according  to  promise,  a  full  explanation  of  his  views  to  the 
electors  of  Lynn,  might  seriously  embarrass  the  future  of  the 
Conservative  party;  and  the  father,  now  as  on  previous 
occasions,  relied  upon  Disraeli  to  keep  the  son  straight.  It 
was  an  immense  relief  to  both  chiefs  to  find  from  the  next 
morning's  paper  that  the  Foreign  Secretary  had  been  cau- 
tious and  discreet. 

To  Lord  Stanley. 

10,  DOWNING  STREET,  Nov.  10,  '68. —  I  should  like  to  have  seen 
you,  for  a  moment,  before  you  departed.  I  shall  have  sleepless 
nights,  until  I  have  read  your  Lynn  words. 

Pray  don't  stab  me  in  the  back  after  all  the  incredible  exer- 
tions I  am  making  for  the  good  cause. 

And  don't  believe  newspapers,  and  newspaper  writers,  too 
much.  The  result  of  the  General  Election,  rest  assured,  will 
surprise  all  the  students  of  that  literature. 

Nov.  14.— Perfect! 

I  am  told  our  own  party  are  enthusiastic:  but  all  praise  it. 
It  must  do  us  great  good. 

Stanley's  speech  was  at  the  opening  of  the  polls.  By  the 
time  that  the  county  returns  were  beginning,  and  that 
Disraeli  was  elected  unopposed  for  Bucks,  it  was  clear  that 
Ministers  would  be  defeated ;  *  and  the  Prime  Minister,  in 
marked  contrast  to  Gladstone's  bellicose  utterances,  felt 
himself  justified  in  taking  a  detached  and  impartial  view 
of  the  situation  on  the  hustings  at  Aylesbury.  To  this 
happy  contingency  we  owe  a  priceless  appreciation  of  the 
Irish  character. 

The  Irishman  is  an  imaginative  being.  He  lives  on  an 
island  in  a  damp  climate,  and  contiguous  to  the  melancholy 
ocean.  He  has  no  variety  of  pursuit.  There  is  no  nation  in 
the  world  that  leads  so  monotonous  a  life  as  the  Irish,  because 
their  only  occupation  is  the  cultivation  of  the  soil  before  them. 
These  men  are  discontented  because  tbey  are  not  amused.  The 
Irishman  in  other  countries,  when  he  has  a  fair  field  for  his 
talents  in  various  occupations,  is  equal,  if  not  superior,  to  most 
races;  and  it  is  not  the  fault  of  the  Government  that  there 

1 '  Our  shadows  seem  to  grow  very  long,'  Disraeli  wrote  on  the  day 
of  the  election  to  Northcote. 


is  not  that  variety  of  occupation  in  Ireland.  I  may  say  with 
frankness  that  I  think  it  is  the  fault  of  the  Irish.  If  they  led 
that  kind  of  life  which  would  invite  the  introduction  of  capital 
into  the  country,  all  this  ability  might  be  utilised ;  and  instead  of 
those  feelings  which  they  acquire  by  brooding  over  the  history 
of  their  country,  a  great  part  of  which  is  merely  traditionary, 
you  would  find  men  acquiring  fortunes,  and  arriving  at  con- 
clusions on  politics  entirely  different  from  those  which  they 
now  offer.1 

Derby,  while  singing  the  praises  of  his  own  county  of 
Lancashire,  gave  Disraeli  a  gloomy  exposition  of  the  gen- 
eral upshot  of  the  elections. 

From  Lord  Derby. 

Confidential.  KNOWSLEY,  Nov.  22,  1868. —  On  looking  over  the 
returns,  which  are  now  nearly  completed,  I  am  sorry  to  see  that 
our  numbers  will  not  only  greatly  disappoint  your  sanguine 
hopes,  but  will  fall  considerably  below  even  my  more  modest 
anticipations.  Even  taking  the  most  favourable  view  of  the 
elections  which  are  yet  to  take  place,  I  cannot  make  out  that 
Gladstone's  majority  will  be  less,  and  probably  more,  than  a 
hundred.  I  am  happy  to  think  however  that  my  county  at  least 
has  done  its  duty.  I  told  you  I  hoped  to  secure  18  out  of  the 
32  seats  2 —  we  have  done  that  already,  if,  as  I  have  every  reason 
to  believe,  we  have  carried  both  seats  in  the  North-East.  There 
are  four  seats  remaining,  out  of  which  I  have  every  hope  of 
carrying  three,  including  this  division,  in  which  we  shall  defeat 
Gladstone  by  not  less  than  a  thousand.  We  have  lost  Wigan 
by  sheer  mismanagement,  and  Warrington  temporarily  by  ras- 
cality ;  the  Mayor's  poll  clerk,  who  has  absconded,  having  omitted 
50  or  60  of  Greenall's  supporters,  whose  votes  appear  on  the 
books  of  both  parties.  .  .  . 

In  the  midst  of  our  disasters,  let  me  congratulate  you,  which 
I  do  very  sincerely,  on  your  speech  at  your  nomination.  It 
was  perfectly  suited  to  the  occasion,  calm,  temperate,  and  digni- 
fied, and  a  striking  contrast  to  the  balderdash  and  braggadocio 
in  which  Gladstone  has  been  indulging  on  his  stumping  tour  — 
and  which,  I  am  happy  to  say,  has  done  him  more  harm  than 
good.  The  fate  of  the  Government  however  is,  I  apprehend, 
decided.  .  .  . 

1  Aylesbury,  Nov.  19,  1868. 

2  The   final   result   for   Lancashire   showed    19    Conservatives   to    13 

1868]  RESULT  OF  THE  POLLS  93 

Household  suffrage,  on  its  first  experiment,  produced 
results  which  were  very  unfavourable  to  its  authors.  The 
working  men  accepted  the  Liberal  contention  as  to  the  real 
giver  of  their  franchise ;  and  were  seduced  by  the  captivating 
cries  of  religious  equality  and  justice  to  Ireland.  Accord- 
ingly, the  boroughs,  save  in  Lancashire,  declared  with  con- 
siderable unanimity  against  the  Government;  but  the  re- 
duction of  the  occupation  franchise  in  the  counties  operated 
favourably  to  the  Conservatives,  and  enabled  them  to  ap- 
pear in  Parliament  as  a  considerable  and  coherent,  if  a 
reduced,  minority.  Unsatisfactory  as  was  the  general  re- 
sult, which,  roughly  speaking,  doubled  the  majority  of  sixty 
which  the  Liberals  had  held  in  the  last  Parliament,  there 
were  several  individual  returns  which  were  calculated,  in 
some  measure,  to  console  the  losers.  Gladstone,  in  spite  of 
a  campaign  of  copious  oratory,  was  rejected  by  the  Lancas- 
trian constituency  which  had  come  to  his  rescue  after  his 
defeat  at  Oxford ;  and  he  would  sit  in  the  new  Parliament  as 
the  junior  member  for  the  metropolitan  borough  of  Green- 
wich. Lancashire  further  gratified  the  Tory  party  and  the 
house  of  Stanley  by  returning  Frederick  Stanley  in  the 
place  of  Lord  Hartington;  and  in  two  important  metro- 
politan constituencies  victories  were  won  for  the  party  by 
two  men  who  were  to  be  among  the  ablest  of  Disraeli's 
younger  colleagues  in  his  last  Administration  —  William 
Henry  Smith  ousted  John  Stuart  Mill  from  Westminster, 
and  Lord  George  Hamilton,  then  a  young  guardsman,  came 
in  at  the  top  of  the  poll  for  Middlesex.  If  there  was  con- 
siderable slaughter  among  Tory  lawyers,  the  failure  of  Roe- 
buck, Milner-Gibson,  H.  Austin  Bruce,  Bernal  Osborne,  and 
Horsman  —  to  name  the  more  conspicuous  of  the  Liberal 
notabilities  who  fell  —  must  have  brought  some  balm  to 
Disraeli's  spirit.  By  the  operation  of  the  minority  clause 
a  Conservative  was  returned  also  with  three  Liberals  for 
the  City  of  London,  and  Disraeli's  Liberal  friend,  Baron 
Lionel  de  Rothschild,  whom  he  had  done  so  much  to  seat  in 
the  House,  was  rejected. 


The  country  had  registered  a  decisive  verdict  against 
Ministers.  What  ought  they  to  do  ?  According  to  the  old 
precedents,  they  ought  to  meet  Parliament  as  if  nothing 
had  happened,  and  wait  to  he  defeated  either  on  the  elec- 
tion of  Speaker  or  on  an  amendment  to  the  Address.  This 
was  the  course  pursued  hy  Melbourne's  Government  in  1841 ; 
but  Disraeli  had  condemned  it  then  as  a  policy  resting  on 
constitutional  fictions  and  not  on  facts,  and  so  causing 
harmful  and  unnecessary  delay.1  Ministers,  now  as  then, 
had  been  defeated  in  Parliament,  had  thereupon  appealed 
from  Parliament  to  the  country,  and  had  had  at  the  polls 
their  defeat  confirmed  and  emphasised.  It  was  advisable, 
he  thought,  to  acknowledge  the  fact  and  resign  at  once. 
As  was  his  frequent  custom  in  this  Government,  he  first 
talked  the  matter  over  with  Stanley,  who  had  independently 
come  to  the  same  conclusion.  Disraeli's  two  other  most  im- 
portant colleagues,  Hardy  and  Cairns,  agreed;  and  the 
Queen  threw  the  weight  of  her  influence  into  the  scale. 
Apart  from  her  invariable  preference  for  realities  and  readi- 
ness to  accept  political  facts  even  if  unpalatable  to  her,  Her 
Majesty  was  naturally  anxious  to  have  the  political  changes 
completed,  so  far  as  possible,  before  the  recurrence  of  the 
sad  anniversary  of  her  loss  on  December  14. 

•While  the  concurrence  of  the  Queen  and  of  Disraeli's 
principal  colleagues  made  it  probable  that  the  assent  of  the 
Cabinet  would  be  secured  for  immediate  resignation,  it  was 
certain  that  the  country  would  be  surprised,  and  it  was 
possible  that  the  party  might  be  offended.  Accordingly,  it 
was  necessary,  as  Disraeli  wrote  to  Derby,  to  accompany 
resignation  '  by  some  simultaneous  act  which  should  reas- 
sure and  satisfy  the  party ' ;  '  some  proceeding,'  as  he  wrote 
to  Hardy,  *  which  leaves  no  doubt  in  the  minds  of  our 
friends,  in  Parliament  and  the  country,  of  our  determina- 
tion to  stand  by  our  policy  of  [  ?  on]  disestablishment.' 
As  Parliament  was  not  sitting,  this  was  difficult.  At  first 
Disraeli  thought  of  effecting  his  purpose  by  an  open  letter 
i  See  Vol.  II.,  p.  116. 

1868]         THE  PRECEDENT  OF  RESIGNATION  95 

to  Derby ;  but  finally  decided  to  send  a  circular  to  all  Con- 
servative peers  and  members  of  Parliament.  The  Cabinet 
accepted  the  advice  of  the  Prime  Minister,  backed  by  his 
most  influential  colleagues,  in  spite  of  a  strong  letter  from 
Derby  in  the  contrary  sense,  written  to  Stanley,  and  read, 
at  the  writer's  request,  both  to  Disraeli  and  apparently  also 
to  the  Cabinet.  '  It  does  not  alter  my  opinion,'  Disraeli 
told  Stanley.  l  However,  the  Cabinet  will  consider  and  de- 
cide. If  you  think  it  expedient  to  read  it,  postpone  its  read- 
ing till  we  have  ascertained  the  unbiassed  sentiments  of  our 

To  Queen  Victoria. 

10,  DOWNING  STREET,  Nov.  28,  1868. —  Mr.  Disraeli  with  his 
humble  duty  to  your  Majesty. 

The  Cabinet  is  over,  and  has  arrived  at  the  conclusion  he 
wished,  though  after  much  criticism,  and  great  apprehension, 
that  the  Conservative  party,  not  only  in  Parliament,  may  be 
offended  and  alienated. 

Assisted  by  Lord  Stanley,  and  by  the  Lord  Chancellor,  Mr. 
Disraeli  successfully  combated  these  fears,  and  adopted  several 
suggestions,  which  were  made,  sensible  and  ingenious,  which 
are  calculated  to  prevent  their  occurrence.  .  .  . 

From  General  the  Hon.  Charles  Grey. 

WINDSOR  CASTLE,  Nov.  30,  1868. — The  Queen  commands  me 
to  return  Lord  Derby's  letter.  H.M.  is  still  of  opinion  that 
you  have  taken  the  course  which  was  most  honourable  and 
straightforward  as  regards  the  character  of  the  Govt.,  and  cer- 
tainly best  for  the  public  interest.  .  .  . 

To  Lord  Derby. 

10,  DOWNING  STREET,  Dec.  2,  1868. — The  Cabinet  were  unani- 
mous on  the  subject  of  resignation,  not  so  much  from  any  senti- 
mental feeling  of  personal  honor,  which  would  not  bear  discus- 
sion, but  from  a  conviction  that  the  course  was  more  advan- 
tageous to  the  party. 

I .  enclose  you  a  copy  of  the  circular,  which  I  propose  to 
forward  to  every  member  of  the  party  in  both  Houses,  and  which 
will,  of  course,  appear  in  all  the  newspapers. 

I  tendered  my  resignation  yesterday. 


In  the  circular  Ministers  explained  that  they  had  not 
modified  their  opinion  that  Gladstone's  policy  of  Irish  dis- 
establishment and  disendowment  was  '  wrong  in  principle, 
probably  impracticable  in  application,  and  if  practicable 
would  be  disastrous  in  its  effects.'  But  they  justified  their 
immediate  resignation  in  the  following  terms : 

Although  the  General  Election  has  elicited  in  the  decision  of 
numerous  and  vast  constituencies  an  expression  of  feeling  which 
in  a  remarkable  degree  has  justified  their  anticipations  and 
which  in  dealing  with  the  question  in  controversy  no  wise  states- 
man would  disregard,  it  is  now  clear  that  the  present  Adminis- 
tration cannot  expect  to  command  the  confidence  of  the  newly 
elected  House  of  Commons.  Under  these  circumstances  Her 
Majesty's  Ministers  have  felt  it  due  to  their  own  honour  and 
to  the  policy  they  support  not  to  retain  office  unnecessarily  for 
a  single  day.  They  hold  it  to  be  more  consistent  with  the 
attitude  they  have  assumed  and  with  the  convenience  of  public 
business  at  this  season,  as  well  as  more  conducive  to  the  just 
influence  of  the  Conservative  party,  at  once  to  tender  the  resigna- 
tion of  their  offices  to  Her  Majesty  rather  than  wait  for  the 
assembling  of  a  Parliament  in  which  in  the  present  aspect  of 
affairs  they  are  sensible  they  must  be  in  a  minority. 

The  precedent  thus  wisely  set  has  been  followed  on  every 
subsequent  occasion  when  the  circumstances  have  been  at  all 
similar;  by  Gladstone  after  the  General  Elections  of  1874 
and  1886,  and  by  Beaconsfield  himself  after  that  of  1880. 
In  1885  and  in  1892  Salisbury  took  a  different  course  on 
the  reasonable  ground  that,  though  there  was  probably  a 
majority  against  Ministers,  it  was  not  a  homogeneous  ma- 
jority and  might  fairly  be  tested  in  Parliament;  but  on 
neither  occasion  did  his  Government  survive  the  Address. 
For  the  moment  in  1868  there  was  some  doubt  as  to  the  con- 
stitutionality of  the  proceeding ;  but  the  press  and  the  party 
were  in  general  favourable.1  Disraeli  was  able  to  report  to 
Grey,  for  the  Queen's  information,  on  December  4 :  '  Mon- 
tagu Corry  tells  me  that  he  went  into  the  Carlton  Club 

i  Even  Derby  changed  his  mind ;  and  '  on  further  consideration  of 
all  the  circumstances/  told  Disraeli  he  was  satisfied  that  the  decison 
of  the  Government  was  right. 


yesterday,  which  was  crammed  and  crowded,  as  it  always  is 
during  a  Ministerial  crisis,  and  that  there  was  only  one,  and 
even  enthusiastic,  opinion  as  to  the  propriety  of  the  course 
which  I  had  taken.  This  is  a  great  relief  to  me ;  even  the 
malignant  Times,  on  second  thoughts,  finds  it  wise  to  ap- 
prove.' Public  opinion,  on  the  whole,  endorsed  Grey's  ver- 
dict in  a  letter  to  the  Queen :  '  Nothing  more  proper  or 
manly  than  [Disraeli's]  way  of  taking  defeat.'  Many 
Liberal  journals  paid  a  similar  tribute.  '  Mr.  Disraeli's 
conduct,'  said  the  Spectator,  i  although  astute,  is  still  manly 
and  straightforward.  He  is  a  gamester  in  politics,  but  hav- 
ing lost  the  rubber  he  pays  the  stakes  without  a  squabble.' 
He  knew  how  to  lose  like  a  gentleman. 

When  Disraeli  quitted  office  he  was  just  completing  his 
sixty-fourth  year  and  his  wife  had  reached  the  advanced 
age  of  seventy-six.  Considering  the  size  and  enthusiasm  of 
the  Liberal  majority,  it  was  most  improbable  that  she  at 
any  rate  would  live  to  share  office  once  more  with  her 
husband.  Was  it  even  worth  his  while  to  resume  the  toil 
of  apparently  hopeless  Opposition  ?  He  had  reached  the 
goal  of  his  ambition,  had  become  what  he  told  Melbourne 
he  meant  to  be,  Prime  Minister.  Might  he  not  reasonably 
now  retire  from  the  active  fight,  accept  the  honours  to  which 
his  long  service  had  given  him  a  claim,  and  settle  down  to 
enjoy  them  with  his  wife  in  the  few  years  during  which  he 
might  yet  keep  her  with  him  ?  The  vision  attracted  him ; 
but,  even  if  he  could  bring  himself  to  forgo  the  joy  of  battle 
in  the  Commons,  he  must  have  felt  the  honourable  obliga- 
tion, so  long  as  his  health  permitted,  of  remaining  to  re- 
build the  party  from  the  ruin  into  which,  according  to  his 
busy  detractors  in  the  ranks,  it  was  his  reckless  Reform 
policy  that  had  plunged  them.  If,  however,  he  remained, 
he  might. still  secure  for  his  wife  the  honours  which  she 
would  value  the  more  highly  as  coming  through  him  and  on 
his  account.  In  his  audience  of  the  Queen  after  the  elec- 
tions he  broached  the  suggestion  that  Mrs.  Disraeli  might  be 
created  a  peeress  in  her  own  right ;  and  was  encouraged  to 


submit  his  exact  proposal  in  writing  to  Her  Majesty.  It 
will  be  noticed  that,  in  his  memorandum,  Disraeli  treats  the 
party  which  was  about  to  go  into  opposition  as  in  no  mere 
conventional  language  but  in  a  very  real  sense  '  Her  Ma- 
jesty's Opposition/  to  be  directed  not  only  with  a  view  to 
the  promotion  of  its  own  principles  but  with  constant  re- 
gard to  the  Queen's  comfort,  welfare,  and  advantage. 

To  Queen  Victoria. 

Nov.  23,  1868. —  Mr.  Disraeli  with  his  humble  duty  to  your 
Majesty.  Pursuant  to  your  Majesty's  gracious  intimation  he 
will  endeavour  to  succinctly  state  what  passed  in  audience  with 
reference  to  the  condition  of  the  Conservative  party  after  the 
General  Election  and  his  personal  relations  to  it. 

It  was  to  be  considered,  1st,  whether  it  was  for  your  Majesty's 
comfort  and  advantage  to  keep  the  party  together  —  and,  2ndly, 
whether  if  kept  together  it  was  expedient  that  Mr.  Disraeli  should 
continue  to  attempt  the  task  or  leave  the  effort  to  younger 
hands.  It  seemed  desirable  that  the  party  should  be  kept  to- 
gether because,  although  not  numerically  stronger,  its  moral 
influence  appeared  to  be  increased  from  the  remarkably  popular 
elements  of  which  the  Conservative  party  was  now  formed  under 
the  influence  of  the  new  Reform  Act.  Viewing  England  only, 
the  Conservative  party  in  the  House  of  Commons  will  represent 
the  majority  of  the  population  of  that  country. 

This  is  a  strange  and  most  unforeseen  result.  It  did  not 
appear  after  great  deliberation  that  any  person  could  guide 
this  party  for  your  Majesty's  comfort  and  welfare  with  the 
same  advantage  as  Mr.  Disraeli,  as  no  one  could  be  so  inti- 
mately acquainted  with  your  Majesty's  wishes  and  objects  as 

It  had  been  the  original  intention  of  Mr.  Disraeli  on  the 
termination  of  this  Ministry  to  have  closed  his  political  career 
and  to  have  humbly  solicited  your  Majesty  to  have  bestowed  upon 
him  some  mark  of  your  Majesty's  favor,  not  altogether  unusual 
under  the  circumstances.  /  , 

When  the  leader  or  Speaker  of  the  House  of  Commons  has 
been  elevated  by  the  Sovereign  to  the  peerage,  the  rank  accorded 
to  him  hitherto  has  been  that  of  Viscount.  And  on  this  ground, 
that  otherwise  his  inferiors  in  political  position,  who  had  been 
elevated  often  by  his  advice  while  he  held  either  of  these  great 
posts,  would  take  precedence  of  him  who  had  been  the  chief  in 
the  Commons  or  who  had  presided  over  and  controlled  the  de- 


bates.  This  was  felt  so  strongly  by  Lord  Russell,  that  when 
Sir  C.  Wood  was  elevated,  who  tho'  an  eminent  was  still  a  sub- 
ordinate Minister,  Lord  Russell  counselled  your  Majesty  to 
make  him  a  Viscount,1  otherwise  in  the  House  of  Lords  he 
would  have  been  in  an  inferior  position  to  Sir  B.  Hall,2  Mr.  V. 
Smith,3  and  others  who  in  the  House  of  Commons  were  im- 
measurably his  inferiors  both  in  political  rank  and  public  repu- 

Mr.  Disraeli  might  say  that,  at  his  time  of  life  and  with  the 
present  prospects,  it  is  a  dreary  career  again  to  lead  and  form 
an  Opposition  party:  but  he  does  not  say  so,  because  in  truth, 
if  in  that  post  he  could  really  serve  your  Majesty  and  your 
Majesty  really  felt  that,  it  would  be  a  sufficient  object  and 
excitement  in  public  life,  and  he  should  be  quite  content  even  if 
he  were  never  Minister  again. 

But  next  to  your  Majesty  there  is  one  to  whom  he  owes  every- 
thing, and  who  has  looked  forward  to  this  period  of  their  long 
united  lives  as  one  of  comparative  repose  and  of  recognised 
honor.  Might  Mr.  Disraeli  therefore,  after  31  years  of  Parlia- 
mentary toil,  and  after  having  served  your  Majesty  on  more 
than  one  occasion,  if  not  with  prolonged  success  at  least  with 
unfaltering  devotion,  humbly  solicit  your  Majesty  to  grant  those 
honors  to  his  wife  which  perhaps  under  ordinary  circumstances 
your  Majesty  would  have  deigned  to  bestow  on  him? 

It  would  be  an  entire  reward  to  him,  and  would  give  spirit 
and  cheerfulness  to  the  remainder  of  his  public  life,  when  he 
should  be  quite  content  to  be  your  Majesty's  servant  if  not  your 
Majesty's  Minister.  He  would  humbly  observe  that  no  precedents 
are  necessary  for  such  a  course,  but  there  are  several. 

When  his  friends  on  the  formation  of  a  new  Govt.  wished  that 
the  elder  Pitt,  who  only  filled  a  subordinate  office,  should  not 
leave  the  House  of  Commons,  his  wife  was  created  a  peeress 
in  her  own  right  as  Baroness  Chatham.  When  in  very  modern 
times  —  indeed  in  your  Majesty's  own  reign  —  Lord  Melbourne 
wished  to  induce  Sir  John  Campbell  to  remain  in  the  House  of 
Commons,  and  only  as  Attorney-General,  his  wife  was  created 
Baroness  Stratheden. 

Mr.  Disraeli  is  ashamed  to  trouble  your  Majesty  on  such  per- 
sonal matters,  but  he  has  confidence  in  your  Majesty's  gracious 
indulgence    and    in    some    condescending    sympathy    on    your 
Majesty's  part  with  the  feelings  which  prompt  this  letter. 
Mrs.  Disraeli  has  a  fortune  of  her  own  adequate  to  any  posi- 

1  Halifax.  8  Created  Lord  Lyveden. 

2  Created  Lord  Llanover. 


tion  in  which  your  Majesty  might  deign  to  place  her.  Might 
her  husband  then  hope  that  your  Majesty  would  be  graciously 
pleased  to  create  her  Viscountess  Beaconsfield,  a  town  with  which 
Mr.  Disraeli  has  been  long  connected  and  which  is  the  nearest 
town  to  his  estate  in  Bucks  which  is  not  yet  ennobled? 

From  Queen  Victoria. 

WINDSOR  CASTLE,  Nov.  24,  1868. —  The  Queen  has  received  Mr. 
Disraeli's  letter,  and  has  much  pleasure  in  complying  with  his 
request  that  she  should  confer  a  peerage  on  Mrs.  Disraeli,  as 
a  mark  of  her  sense  of  his  services.  The  Queen  thinks  that 
Mr.  Disraeli,  with  whom  she  will  part  with  much  regret,  can 
render  her  most  useful  service  even  when  not  in  office;  and  she 
would  have  been  very  sorry  if  he  had  insisted  on  retiring  from 
public  life. 

The  Queen  can  indeed  truly  sympathise  with  his  devotion 
to  Mrs.  Disraeli,  who  in  her  turn  is  so  deeply  attached  to  him, 
and  she  hopes  they  may  yet  enjoy  many  years  of  happiness 

The  Queen  will  gladly  confer  the  title  of  Viscountess  Beacons- 
field  on  Mrs.  Disraeli. 

The  Queen  cannot  conclude  without  expressing  her  deep  sense 
of  Mr.  Disraeli's  great  kindness  and  consideration  towards  her, 
not  only  in  what  concerned  her  personally,  but  in  listening  to 
her  wishes  —  which  were  however  always  prompted  by  the  sole 
desire  to  promote  the  good  of  her  country. 

To  Queen  Victoria. 

Nov.  25,  1868. —  Mr.  Disraeli  at  your  Majesty's  feet  offers  to 
your  Majesty  his  deep  gratitude  for  your  Majesty's  inestimable 
favor  and  for  the  terms  —  so  gracious  and  so  graceful  —  in  which 
your  Majesty  has  deigned  to  speak  of  his  efforts  when  working 
under  a  Sovereign  whom  it  is  really  a  delight  to  serve. 

Though  there  was  some  ill-mannered  comment  in  a  por- 
tion of  the  Radical  press,  public  opinion  in  general  accepted 
Mrs.  Disraeli's  peerage  as  a  graceful  and  appropriate  recog- 
nition of  her  husband's  eminence  and  her  own  devotion. 
Derby  wrote :  '  Pray  let  me  be  among  the  first  to  congratu- 
late "  Lady  Beaconsfield  "  on  her  new  honour.  She  will,  I 
am  sure,  receive  it  as  a  graceful  acknowledgment,  on  the 
part  of  the  Crown,  of  your  public  services,  unaccompanied 


by  the  drawback  of  removing  you  from  the  House  in  which 
(pace  Sir  R.  Knightley)  your  presence  is  indispensable.' 
And  Gladstone  concluded  a  formal  letter  to  Disraeli  about 
the  Speakership  with  a  pleasant  reference :  1 1  also  beg  of 
you  to  present  my  best  compliments  on  her  coming  patent  to 
(I  suppose  I  must  still  say,  and  never  can  use  the  name  for 
the  last  time  without  regret)  Mrs.  Disraeli.'  By  a  happy 
thought,  or  a  happy  chance,  the  Secretary  of  State,  who 
signed  the  warrant  for  the  issue  of  the  patent  of  the  new 
peeress,  was  an  old  friend,  Stanley. 

To  Lord  Stanley. 

10,  DOWNING  STREET,  Nov.  27,  '68. —  She  was  very  much  pleased 
with  your  note;  and  still  more,  that  you  were  destined  to  be 
the  Secretary  of  State,  who  performed  the  function. 

There  seemed  a  dramatic  unity  and  completeness  in  the  inci- 
dent; bringing  her  memory  back  to  old  days,  wanderings  over 
Buckinghamshire  commons,  when,  instead  of  a  great  statesman, 
you  were  only  a  young  Under-Secy. 



The  concentration  of  the  Liberal  party,  which  had  been 
a  marked  feature  of  the  elections,  was  reflected  in  the  com- 
position of  the  new  Government.  Gladstone  was  able  to 
combine  in  his  Cabinet  both  Whigs  and  Radicals,  Reform- 
ers and  anti-Reformers,  Clarendon  and  Goschen,  Bright  and 
Lowe.  Clarendon  went  to  the  Foreign  Office  as  of  right; 
Lowe  was  very  infelicitously  placed  at  the  Exchequer; 
Granville  was  of  course  restored  to  that  leadership  of  the 
Lords  which  he  had  held  with  general  acceptance  under 
Palmerston.  No  sooner  was  the  Ministry  constituted  than 
the  Prime  Minister  set  himself  to  work  out  in  detail  and 
reduce  to  legislative  form  his  Irish  Church  policy;  with 
such  success  that  he  was  in  a  position  to  introduce  his 
measure  within  a  fortnight  of  the  reassembling  of  Parlia- 
ment in  February. 

Meanwhile  Disraeli's  attention,  almost  immediately  after 
his  retirement  from  office,  was  claimed  by  a  family  loss. 
His  youngest  brother  James,  whose  health  had  been  failing 
for  some  time,  died  very  suddenly.  He  had  been  for  ten 
years  a  Commissioner  of  Excise.  Disraeli  described  him 
to  Corry  as  '  a  man  of  vigorous  and  original  mind  and  great 
taste,'  and  mentioned  that  he  had  left '  a  collection  of  French 
pictures  of  Louis  Quinze  period,  and  bricbracquerie,  very 
remarkable ;  and  of  drawings  by  modern  artists  of  the  high- 
est class.'  Disraeli  inherited  a  substantial  sum,  about 
£5,000,  from  his  brother;  but  he  did  not  enjoy  the  duties 

of  executor. 


1868-1869]       DEATH  OF  JAMES  DISRAELI  103 

To  Lord  Beauchamp. 

GROSVENOR  GATE,  Dec.  24,  '68. —  I  was  most  distressed  at  miss- 
ing to  write  to  you  by  yesterday's  post:  but  the  death  was  so 
sudden,  everything  so  unprepared,  everybody  away,  I  finding 
myself  executor  without  having  had  the  slightest  hint  of  such 
an  office  devolving  on  me,  and  having  to  give  orders  about 
everything,  and  things  which  I  least  understand,  and  most  dis- 
like—  that  I  was  really  half  distracted,  and  lost  the  post. 

Amid  sorrow,  and  such  sorrow,  one  ought  not  to  dwell  upon 
personal  disappointments,  but  it  is  a  great  one  to  Lady  Beacons- 
field  and  myself,  not  to  pass  our  Xmas  with  friends  we  so 
dearly  love,  as  Lady  Beauchamp  and  her  lord. 

To  Lord  Stanley. 

GROSVENOR  GATE,  Jan.  11,  1869. —  Your  letter  was  very  wel- 
come, and  very  interesting,  as  your  letters  generally  are.  Events 
affect  the  course  of  time  so  sensibly,  that  it  came  to  me  like  a 
communication  from  some  one  I  had  known  in  another  life, 
perhaps  another  planet.  It  seemed  such  long  ages,  since  we 
used  to  see  each  other  every  day,  and  communicate  almost  every 

Here  I  have  remained;  and  probably  shall  until  the  end  of  the 
month,  when  we  shall  re-enter  life  by  going  to  Burghley.  I 
have  seen  no  one,  and  been  nowhere,  not  even  to  a  club ;  I  have 
in  fact  realised  perfect  solitude :  but  I  have  found  enough  to  do, 
and  regular  hours  are  the  secret  of  health.  .  .  . 

The  General  Election  of  1868  sent  Disraeli  back  once 
more  to  that  seat  facing  the  box  on  the  Speaker's  left,  in 
which  he  had  already  spent  so  much  of  his  Parliamentary 
life.  He  had  no  doubt  as  to  what  must  be  the  immediate 
course  of  the  Opposition.  Just  before  the  session  was  re- 
sumed, he  wrote  to  Stanley,  declining  an  invitation  to  a 
public  dinner  in  Lancashire,  and  giving  as  his  reason,  '  I 
think  on  our  part  there  should  be,  at  the  present,  the  utmost 
reserve  and  quietness.'  Even  when,  in  opposition  to  Pal- 
merston,  he  commanded  a  formidable  minority  not  much 
short,  in  voting  strength,  of  the  forces  of  the  Government, 
he  often  practised  tactics  of  the  kind.  Now  that  he  was 
facing  a  Minister  who  had  behind  him  a  large  and  enthusi- 
astic majority  such  as  Parliament  had  not  seen  since  the 


fall  of  Peel,  reserve  was  all  the  more  imperative.  Kicking 
against  the  pricks  was  neither  dignified  nor  useful.  Plenty 
of  rope,  to  vary  the  metaphor,  was  what  a  wise  Opposition 
would  extend  to  a  Premier  of  boundless  eagerness  and  ac- 

Accordingly  the  resistance  which  Disraeli  offered  to  Glad- 
stone's Irish  Church  Bill,  though  strenuous,  was  not  pro- 
longed. Nor  was  his  speech  on  the  second  reading  a  very 
successful  effort.  Salisbury  in  retrospect  described  it  as 
much  below  the  orator's  usual  level;  Hardy  at  the  time 
characterised  it  as  '  sparkling  and  brilliant,  but  far  from 
earnest.'  Perhaps  the  most  interesting  passage  in  it  was 
one  protesting  against  the  confiscation  by  the  State  of  cor- 
porate property,  and  especially  of  Church  property,  which 
was  '  to  a  certain  degree  an  intellectual  tenure ;  in  a  greater 
degree  a  moral  and  spiritual  tenure.  It  is  the  fluctuating 
patrimony  of  the  great  body  of  the  people.'  The  constant 
sense  of  the  anomalous  position  of  the  Irish  Church  rather 
paralysed  Disraeli's  efforts  in  its  defence ;  and  in  this  second 
reading  debate  the  Opposition  speaker  who  roused  the  en- 
thusiasm which  can  only  be  produced  by  conviction  as  well 
as  eloquence  was  Gathorne  Hardy. 

But  no  conviction  and  no  eloquence  were  of  any  avail 
against  a  majority  returned  by  the  newly  created  con- 
stituency to  deal  with  this  very  question,  and  against  a 
Minister  who  conceived  himself  to  be  entrusted  with  a  mis- 
sion to  pacify  Ireland.  The  second  reading  was  carried  by 
118.  Though  Disraeli  told  Archbishop  Tait  that  it  was 
'  a  mechanical  majority,'  which  '  created  no  enthusiasm,' 
and  gave  the  Archbishop  the  impression  that  he  hoped  to  be 
able  to  set  the  Liberal  party  by  the  ears,  he  realised  that  it 
was  impossible  to  resist  the  Bill  with  effect  in  the  Com- 
mons. He  discouraged  blind  opposition  to  every  clause  in 
Committee,  urged  his  followers  to  concentrate  on  a  few  vital 
amendments,  and  made  no  attempt  at  delay.  The  Bill, 
therefore,  in  spite  of  its  complexity,  passed  easily  through 
its  various  stages  with  the  support  of  an  undiminished  ma- 

1869]    PROSPECTS  OF  CIVIL  WAR  IN  IRELAND        105 

jority,  and  on  the  last  day  of  May  was  read  a  third  time 
by  114.  Disraeli's  speech  on  that  occasion,  though  Hardy 
was  again  dissatisfied  and  called  it  '  wretched/  contains  at 
least  one  passage  which  was  highly  prophetic.  All  who  re- 
member what  the  state  of  Ireland  was  at  the  moment  of  the 
outbreak  of  the  Great  War  in  August,  1914,  will  realise  that  ' 
Disraeli  had  grasped  the  essentials  of  the  Irish  position, 
which  Gladstone  and  his  followers  glozed  over  with  opti- 
mistic sentimentalism.  '  It  is  very  possible,'  he  said,  '  that 
after  a  period  of  great  disquietude,  doubt,  and  passion, 
events  may  occur  which  may  complete  that  severance  of  the 
Union  [between  England  and  Ireland]  which  tonight  we 
are  commencing.' 

What  I  fear  in  the  policy  of  the  ,right  hon.  gentleman  [Glad- 
stone] is  that  its  tendency  is  to  civil  war.  I  am  not  surprised 
that  hon.  gentlemen  should  for  a  moment  be  startled  by  such 
an  expression.  Let  them  think  a  little.  Is  it  natural  and 
probable  that  the  Papal  power  in  Ireland  will  attempt  to  attain 
ascendancy  and  predominance?  I  say  it  is  natural;  and,  what 
is  more,  it  ought  to  do  it.  Is  it  natural  that  the  Protestants  of 
Ireland  should  submit  without  a  struggle  to  such  a  state  of 
things?  You  know  tbey  will  not;  that  is  settled.  Is  England 
to  interfere?  Are  we  again  to  conquer  Ireland?  Are  we  to 
have  a  repetition  of  the  direful  history  which  on  both  sides  now 
we  wish  to  forget?  Is  there  to  be  another  Battle  of  the  Boyne, 
another  Siege  of  Derry,  another  Treaty  of  Limerick?  These 
things  are  not  only  possible,  but  probable.  You  are  commencing 
a  policy  which  will  inevitably  lead  to  such  results. 

Disraeli  looked  to  the  Lords  to  secure  better  terms  for 
the  Irish  Church  than  Gladstone  and  the  Commons  were 
disposed  to  accord.  Directly  the  second  reading  was  car- 
ried he  had  written  to  the  Archbishop  urging  him  to  call  a 
meeting  at  Lambeth  of  leading  peers  of  various  shades  of 
opinion,  in  order  that  the  Upper  House,  whatever  it  might 
ultimately  decide  to  do,  should  not  act  on  party  lines  or 
under  party  leaders.  *  Every  day,'  he  added,  '  will  make 
us  comprehend  more  clearly  what  is  the  real  feeling  of  Eng- 
land. It  is  on  a  just  appreciation  of  that  that  the  right 


decision  will  depend.'  The  Archbishop,  who  had  already 
at  the  Queen's  instance  accepted  a  mediatory  position,  was 
only  too  glad  to  do  what  he  was  asked.  *  I  saw  the  Arch- 
bishop of  Canterbury  to-day,'  wrote  Disraeli  to  Cairns  on 
April  14:,  '  a  long  interview.  He  is  in  favour  of  reading  the 
Bill  a  second  time,  I  think,  tho'  he  does  not  wish  to  decide 
on  that  prematurely;  and  he  accedes  to  my  suggestion  of 
summoning  a  preliminary  meeting  of  peers  at  Lambeth  to 
consult.'  There  is  reason  to  believe  that  Disraeli  agreed 
with  the  Archbishop's  tactics.  But  he  was  in  a  difficult 
position,  as  his  authority  with  the  Conservative  peers  was 
very  far  short  of  what  it  ultimately  became,  and  Derby,  to 
whom  they  looked,  absolutely  refused  to  attend  the  Lambeth 
meeting,  on  the  ground  that  l  no  consideration  on  earth ' 
would  induce  him  to  enter  into  any  compromise  on  a  measure 
of  the  kind.  The  meeting  was  accordingly  a  failure,  Cairns, 
the  leader  in  the  Lords,  showing,  in  view  of  Derby's  atti- 
tude, great  reserve,  though  Salisbury  and  one  or  two  others 
agreed  with  the  Archbishop.  The  Conservative  peers  met 
at  the  Duke  of  Marlborough's  house,  and  disregarded  the 
hesitations  of  their  leaders.  It  was  resolved  to  oppose  the 
second  reading,  in  spite  of  the  certainty  that  the  rejection 
of  the  Bill,  immediately  after  a  decisive  General  Election, 
would  provoke  a  constitutional  crisis  of  the  first  magnitude. 
Happily  some  of  the  leaders,  acting  we  may  well  believe 
with  Disraeli's  sympathy,  were  able,  in  conjunction  with  the 
Archbishop,  to  effect  by  influence  behind  the  scenes  what 
they  had  failed  to  carry  at  the  party  meeting ;  so  the  Bill, 
owing  to  many  abstentions  and  thirty-six  Tory  votes  in  its 
favour,  was  carried  on  second  reading  by  the  respectable 
majority  of  thirty-three. 

There  followed  a  series  of  somewhat  drastic  amendments 
making  ampler  pecuniary  provision  than  the  Bill  allowed  for 
the  Church  about  to  be  disestablished,  and  inserting  the 
principle  of  concurrent  endowment  by  applying  some  of  the 
surplus  to  the  needs  of  Roman  Catholic  priests  and  Presby- 
terian ministers  instead  of  converting  it  altogether  to  secu- 


lar  use.  Concurrent  endowment  still,  as  in  the  previous 
year,  divided  the  friends  of  the  Church;  for  Disraeli  and 
the  majority  of  his  colleagues  were  in  favour,  and  Cairns 
and  some  others  strongly  against.  It  is  unnecessary  here 
to  describe  the  game  of  battledore  and  shuttlecock  which 
was  played  over  these  amendments  during  June  and  July 
between  Lords  and  Commons,  Ministers  and  ex-Ministers, 
as  the  whole  story  has  been  set  out  in  full  in  the  Life  of 
Archbishop  Tait,  ch.  19,  and  Lord  Morley's  Gladstone, 
Book  VI.,  ch.  1,  and  Disraeli  was  hardly  a  protagonist. 
That  an  arrangement,  by  which  the  Church  obtained  a  con- 
siderable slice  of  what  her  friends  thought  to  be  her  right, 
was  finally  arrived  at  was  due  mainly  to  the  tireless  efforts 
of  the  Queen  and  the  Archbishop,  maintained  in  spite  of 
Gladstone's  unconciliatory  attitude,  and  to  the  willingness 
of  Cairns  to  assume  at  the  last  moment,  without  possibility 
of  due  consultation,  an  onerous  responsibility.  Disraeli's 
letters  to  Cairns  show  that  it  was  the  question  of  concurrent 
endowment  which  gave  him  most  trouble. 

To  Lord  Cairns. 

Confidential.  GROSVENOR  GATE,  June  27,  1869. — .  .  .  What 
I  hear  of  the  state  of  your  House  and  of  the  Cabinet  alarms 
me;  both  conditions  seem  to  me  rather  anarchical. 

Your  followers  want  a  meeting,  that  they  should  be  advised, 
according  to  custom,  as  to  what  amendments  they  should  sup- 
port. But  this  I  apprehend,  might  be  embarrassing  to  you,  from 
your  hesitation  as  to  your  course  respecting  the  appropriation 
of  the  surplus.  The  Government's  truly  idiotic  scheme  on  that 
head  will  not  hold  water.  It  is  universally  condemned,  while 
the  general  principle  of  some  concurrent  endowment  seems  to 
gain  ground,  in  both  Houses,  daily.  It  is  thought  that  many 
would  support  a  liberal  treatment  of  our  own  Church,  if  some- 
thing were  simultaneously  done  for  presbyter  and  priest. 

There  can  be  little  doubt  I  conceive,  abstractedly,  of  the  wis- 
dom of  such  an  arrangement.  But  what  alarms  me  is  the  possi- 
bility of  your  being  put  in  the  situation  of  supporting  the  Gov- 
ernment with  a  fraction  of  your  followers,  and  that  not  the  most 
influential,  and  dividing  against  the  bulk  of  your  friends. 
This  would  be  serious. 


July  12. —  What  I  originally  apprehended  occurred  last  night, 
and  it  will  be  now  necessary  to  arranare  our  course,  with  r^°  •' 
to  '  concurrent  endowment '  in  the  House  of  Commons.  With 
all  our  late  colleagues  there  favorable  to  it,  except  perhaps  Hardy, 
this  will  not  be  a  very  easy  business,  looking  to  future  conse- 
quences as  well  as  present  results.  .  .  . 

Concurrent  endowment  was  eventually  abandoned.  Dis- 
raeli sent  his  wife  early  intelligence  of  Cairns's  arrange- 

To  Lady  Beaconsfield. 

July  22,  '69.— The  Irish  Church  Bill  is  settled.  Cairns  has 
made  a  compromise  with  Lord  Granville;  which  saves  the  honor 
of  the  Lords,  and  will  satisfy  all  moderate  men.  I  don't  think 
the  more  decided  spirits  on  either  side  will  like  it  as  much. 

I  am  obliged  to  hold  my  tongue  even  to  my  colleagues,  as 
Cairns  is  to  announce  the  terms.  They  may  be  known  soon 
after  this  reaches  you,  but  it  will  be  prudent  not  to  send  the 
news  to  anyone. 

Perhaps  the  Archbishop's  comment  in  his  diary  best  sums 
up  the  net  result : 

We  have  made  the  best  terms  we  could,  and,  thanks  to  the 
Queen,  a  collision  between  the  two  Houses  has  been  averted; 
but  a  great  occasion  has  been  poorly  used,  and  the  Irish  Church 
has  been  greatly  injured,  without  any  benefit  to  the  Roman 

The  most  strenuous  opponent  of  the  Irish  Church  Bill  in 
the  Lords  was  the  old  Tory  leader,  Derby;  it  was  he  who 
made  the  most  stirring  speech  in  the  debate  on  the  second 
reading ;  and,  when  the  compromise  over  the  Lords'  amend- 
ments was  announced,  he  was  so  angry,  Malmesbury  tells 
us,  that  he  left  the  House.1  It  was  the  final  scene  of  his 
political  life,  and  his  natural  life  lasted  only  three  months 
longer.  But,  though  his  strength  was  failing,  he  was  for 
some  weeks  without  actual  illness,  and  Disraeli's  last  letter 

i  Mr.  Alfred  Gathorne  Hardy,  in  Cranbrook,  Vol.  I.,  p.  271,  records 
'  on  Lord  Cairns's  authority '  that  Lord  Derby,  though  at  first  startled 
and  annoyed,  ultimately  expressed  satisfaction  with  what  was  done. 

1869]  DEATH  OF  DERBY  109 

to  his  old   '  chief '   was   apparently  written   without   any 
premonition  of  the  approaching  end. 

To  Lord  Derby. 

HUGHENDEN  MANOR,  Sep.  15,  1869. 

MY  DEAR  CHIEF, —  I  was  delighted  at  hearing  from  Knowsley, 
which  recalled  old  times :  not  that  I  mean  to  say  I  was  insensible 
to  the  charms  of  your  red  venison,  which  I  particularly  appre- 

We  have  been  here  three  weeks,  and  have  literally  not  seen 
a  human  being,  beyond  the  dwellers  on  the  soil.  After  the 
session  we  visited  for  a  few  days  some  of  our  friends,  and 
among  other  places  we  found  ourselves  at  Alton  Towers.  It 
pleased  me  very  much.  Though  in  Staffordshire,  it  is  on  the 
Derbyshire  border,  and  combines  the  character  of  both  counties : 
the  scenery  is  romantic  and  rich.  As  for  the  house,  it  is  the 
only  thing  I  have  ever  seen  that  gave  me  an  idea  of  the  castle 
of  Barbe  Bleu  in  Madame  D'Aulnois's  wondrous  tale.  It  is  so 
various  and  fantastic. 

We  are  now  literally  stepping  into  the  carriage  to  pay  a  visit 
of  a  couple  of  days  to  Bulstrode.  The  late  Duke  of  Somerset 
bought  the  park  from  the  Minister  Portland,  who  pulled  down 
the  mansion  where  lived  Judge  Jeffreys,  and  began  building  a 
castle,  but,  being  turned  out  of  office,  he  fancied  he  was  ruined, 
and  sold  the  place.  The  present  Duke  of  Somerset  has  built 
a  fair  and  convenient  dwelling,  in  the  Tudor  style,  in  the  park, 
which  is  undulating  and  well-timbered :  but  I  dare  say  you  may 
remember  it  when  you  were  at  Eton. 

Pray  make  our  kindest  remembrances  to  Lady  Derby.  I  shall 
take  the  liberty  of  writing  to  you  sometimes,  if  I  have  anything 
to  say,  and  you,  perhaps,  will  not  entirely  forget  Your  devoted  D. 

Early  in  October  the  last  illness  began,  and  on  the  23rd 
the  end  came.  To  Disraeli  Derby's  death  was  the  severance 
of  the  most  momentous  political  connection  of  his  life,  a 
connection  which  had  survived  Derby's  resignation  and  his 
own  succession  to  the  first  place.  The  long  and  intimate 
association  with  one  of  a  social  position  so  much  higher, 
and  a  political  reputation  so  much  longer  and  at  first  so 
much  greater,  had  tended  to  habituate  Disraeli  to  the  part 
of  inspirer  of  measures  and  policies  for  which  Derby  bore 
the  main  public  responsibility;  and  there  is  probably  some 


truth  in  Fraser's  assertion  that  Disraeli's  '  fixed  idea '  was 
1  that  he  was  to  be  the  mysterious  wirepuller ;  the  voice  be- 
hind the  throne;  unseen,  but  suspected.  That  he  should 
rise  to  be  the  absolute  monarch,  which  he  was  at  last,  does 
not  seem  to  have  been  anticipated  by  him.'  So  far  as 
Fraser's  view  is  correct,  Derby's  death  was  the  emancipa- 
tion of  Disraeli. 

To  Lord  Stanley. 

HUGHENDEN,  Oct.  25,  '69. —  It  is  with  reluctance,  that  I  in- 
trude on  you  at  this  moment,  overwhelmed,  as  you  must  be, 
with  sorrows,  cares,  and  duties;  the  memory  of  the  past  and  the 
responsibility  of  the  future.  But  I  cannot  refrain  from  express- 
ing to  you  the  sympathy  of  friendship. 

As  for  the  great  departed,  there  existed,  between  him  and 
myself,  relations  wh.  have  rarely  been  maintained  between  two 
human  beings;  twenty  years,  and  more,  of  confidential  public 
life,  tried  by  as  searching  incidents  as  can  well  test  men.  I 
remember  at  this  moment,  not  without  solace,  that  there  never 
was  any  estrangement  between  us;  and  that  I  have  to  associate 
with  his  memory  no  other  feelings,  than  those  of  respect  and 

How  well  justified  was  Disraeli's  claim,  in  spite  of  oc- 
casional misunderstandings,  has  been  shown  throughout  this 
biography.  Lennox  wrote  to  him  from  Paris :  '  I  fear  you 
will  have  felt  Lord  Derby's  death  much.  He  was,  with  all 
his  peculiarities,  very  true  to  you.'  Disraeli,  too,  for  his 
part,  was  '  very  true '  to  Derby ;  even  in  the  deferential 
manner  with  which  he  used,  as  his  secretaries  noticed,  to 
clinch  disputed  matters  when  in  office  by  the  phrase,  '  Lord 
Derby  wishes  it.'  He  paid  a  worthy  tribute  to  his  old  chief 
when,  as  Prime  Minister,  he  unveiled  in  1874  the  statue  of 
the  l  Rupert  of  debate '  in  Parliament  Square ;  but  he  ob- 
served on  that  occasion  a  dignified  reticence  as  to  their 
personal  relations.  The  qualities  which  he  singled  out  for 
eulogy  were  l  his  fiery  eloquence,  his  haughty  courage,  the 
rapidity  of  his  intellectual  grasp  ' ;  ( his  capacity  for  labour 
and  his  mastery  of  detail,  which  never  were  sufficiently  ap- 
preciated because  the  world  was  astonished  by  the  celerity 

1868-1869]     PARTY  LEADERSHIP  IN  THE  LORDS        111 

with  which  he  despatched  public  affairs.'  He  summed  up 
Derby's  share  in  the  great  transactions  of  the  previous 
years  in  a  noteworthy  sentence :  '  He  abolished  slavery,  he 
educated  Ireland,  and  he  reformed  Parliament.' l  It  was 
not  for  him  to  say  what  history  records,  that  one  of  Derby's 
claims  to  the  interest  of  posterity  was  his  intimate  associa- 
tion with  the  career  of  Benjamin  Disraeli. 

Derby's  death  sensibly  affected  the  evolution  of  a  ques- 
tion which,  during  the  first  year  and  more  of  opposition, 
caused  Disraeli  some  trouble  —  the  leadership  of  the  party 
in  the  House  of  Lords.  Malmesbury,  who  had  filled  the 
post  during  1868,  was  indisposed  to  continue  after  the  Gen- 
eral Election.  In  Disraeli's  view,  Cairns,  the  ablest  man 
on  the  Conservative  front  bench  in  that  House,  ought  to  be 
the  successor.  But  so  great  was  the  impression  that  Salis- 
bury's character  and  abilities  had  created  that,  in  spite  of 
his  secession  from,  and  denunciation  of,  his  colleagues  over 
the  Reform  Bill,  there  was  a  movement  among  the  peers  to 
choose  him;  and  even  Cairns  sounded  him  on  the  subject. 
Disraeli  promptly  made  it  clear  that  he  could  concur  in  no 
such  arrangement. 

To  Lord  Cairns. 

Confidential.  GROSVENOR  GATE,  Dec.  14,  1868. — Taylor  came 
to  me  yesterday,  much  perplexed  and  alarmed  about  a  conversa- 
tion, between  Colville  and  yourself,  as  to  the  leading  in  the 
Lords.  I  told  him  I  had  seen  you  on  the  matter,  and  would  see 
you  again,  if  necessary.  He  thinks,  unless  we  act  with  some 
decision,  we  may  injure  our  position. 

The  Leader  in  the  Lords  must  be  one  who  shares  my  entire 
confidence,  and  must  act  in  complete  concert  with  myself.  I  do 
not  know  whether  Lord  Salisbury  and  myself  are  even  on  speak- 
ing terms. 

You  contemplate  making  a  man  leader  of  a  party  of  which  he 
is  not  even  a  member.  If  we  show  strength  in  Parliament  and 
the  country,  it  is  probable,  in  due  time  and  course,  he  will  join 
us.  If  we  try  to  force  the  result,  we  shall  only  subject  ourselves 
to  humiliation. 

i '  Every  word  of  your  admirable  speech  went  to  my  heart,  you  un- 
derstood my  dearest  husband  so  well,'  wrote  the  widowed  Lady  Derby. 


Parliament  will  not  virtually  meet  till  the  middle  of  February, 
and  you  ought  to  meet  it  aa  the  leader  of  the  party  in  the  Lords. 

Salisbury  himself  realised  the  impropriety  of  the  sug- 
gestion, urged  Cairns  to  accept,  and  promised  him  cordial 
and  earnest  support.  Accordingly  Cairns,  though  very 
reluctant  owing  to  his  semi-judicial  position  as  ex-Chancellor 
and  his  recent  creation  as  a  peer,  consented,  and  was  elected 
unanimously.  One  session,  however  —  but  that  session  an 
exceptionally  trying  one,  owing  to  the  controversy  over 
the  Irish  Church  Bill  —  convinced  him  that  his  objections 
were  sound  and  should  prevail;  and  he  wrote  to  Disraeli 
on  September  27  that  he  had  made  up  his  mind  to  resign. 
Not  only  was  he  anxious  to  devote  considerable  time  to 
the  judicial  business  of  the  House  of  Lords,  but  he  had 
felt  in  the  recent  debates  that  his  authority  had  not  been 
duly  regarded  by  the  party.  '  The  more  anxious  part  of 
the  labours  of  the  session  has  been,  not  the  resisting  the 
measures  of  our  opponents,  but  the  endeavouring  to  avoid 
the  appearance  of  disunion  among  our  friends.  I  have  little 
capacity  for  either  operation,  but  for  the  later  I  have  abso- 
lutely none.'  The  state  of  Lady  Cairns' s  health,  he  added, 
had  made  it  necessary  for  him  to  pass  the  entire  winter 
abroad,  so  that  in  any  case  there  would  be  a  temporary  in- 
terruption of  his  leadership;  and  he  considered  this  a  fit- 
ting opportunity  for  his  permanent  withdrawal  from  it. 

To  Lord  Cairns. 

Private.  HUGHENDEN  MANOR,  Sep.  29,  1869. — The  receipt  of 
a  letter,  like  yours,  ought  immediately  to  be  acknowledged. 

At  present,  I  can  only  say,  that  I  have  read  it  with  conster- 
nation. When  I  recover  from  its  contents,  if  I  ever  do,  I  will 
endeavor  to  consider  the  perplexities  of  our  sad  situation,  now 
so  much  aggravated,  and  will  communicate  with  you. 

There  was  no  need  to  come  to  any  decision  in -the  early 
months  of  the  recess ;  and  the  death  of  Derby,  by  transfer- 
ring Disraeli's  friend  and  political  pupil,  Stanley,  to  the 
Lords,  seemed  to  open  out  a  satisfactory  solution.  But 


the  new  head  of  the  house  of  Stanley  was  slow  to  move 
and  to  take  risks;  and  friends  and  colleagues  found  it  im- 
possible to  obtain  any  definite  promise  during  the  autumn. 

To  Lord  Derby. 

CARLTON  CLUB,  Nov.  20,  1869. — We  came  up  from  Strath- 
fieldsaye  yesterday,  and  I  found  your  kind  recollection  of  your 
old  comrade. 

Never  was  a  present  more  opportune ;  and  I  dined  off  a  Knows- 
ley  hare  yesterday,  and  breakfasted  off  a  Knowsley  pheasant 
this  morning:  both  first-rate. 

I  am  qprry  to  hear,  that  the  House  of  Lords  is  to  meet,  so 
far  as  our  friends  are  concerned,  as  acephali.  It  will,  of  course, 
at  first,  produce  great  scandal;  but  I  have  witnessed  so  many 
'  breaks-up '  of  the  party,  that  I  have  come  to  view  them  as 
Talleyrand  did  his  '  revolutions  ' —  with  sanguine  indifference. 

To  Lord  Cairns. 

Private.  HUGHENDEN  MANOR,  Deo.  12,  1869. — .  .  .  I  saw* 
Stanley  when  in  town,  and  he  is  coming  to  stay  here  on  our 
return  from  Blenheim,  which  I  suppose  will  be  about  the  six- 
teenth or  so. 

Nothing  could  be  more  cordial  or  more  satisfactory,  than  the 
expression  of  his  relations  towards  myself,  but  I  could  not  expect 
any  man  to  walk  into  a  House  of  Parliament  for  the  first  time, 
and  at  once  offer  to  take  the  conduct  of  affairs.  Certainly  I 
could  not  expect  such  a  course  from  a  man  of  the  cautious  and 
usually  reserved  habit  of  the  present  Lord  Derby. 

The  arrangement  you  have  decided  on,1  tho'  I  regret  the  per- 
sonal inconvenience  it  may  entail,  appears  to  me  the  most  judi- 
cious to  be  pursued;  at  once  prudent  and  conciliatory. 

I  trust  that  all  will  develop  satisfactorily,  and  I  count  on  your 
continued  counsel  and  support.  .  .  . 

To   Lord  Derby. 

HUGHENDEN  MANOR,  Dec.  16,  1869. — .  .  .  We  shall  be  delighted 
to  receive  you  next  Tuesday,  the  21st.  Although  the  shortest 
day,  it  is  my  birthday,  wh :  will  be  a  sort  of  hedge,  and  I  shall 
look  out,  in  consequence,  for  a  bottle  of  the  best  Falernian. 

I  met  Hardy  at  B[lenheim]  and  had  much  gossip  about  the 

*  To  come  over  from  Mentone  for  the  meeting  of  Parliament,  hold 
the  usual  Peers'  dinner,  and  then  formally  resign. 


H.  of  Lords  with  the  Duke,  hut  this  and  many  other  things 
will  keep.     Excuse  a  frozen  hand. 

The  choice  of  a  leader  in  the  Lords  did  not,  of  course, 
rest  with  the  party  chief  who  sat  in  the  Commons  or  even 
with  the  party  as  a  whole,  but  with  the  Conservative  peers 
themselves;  as  Disraeli  explained  to  a  correspondent  who 
suggested  a  joint  meeting  of  the  Conservatives  in  both 
Houses  to  make  the  election. 

To  William  Johnston  of  BallyTcilbeg. 

HUGHENDEN  MANOR,  Dec.  8,  1869. — The  leader  of  a  party  in  a 
House  of  Parliament  is  never  nominated:  the  selection  is  al- 
ways the  spontaneous  act  of  the  party  in  the  House  in  which 
he  sits.  It  was  so  in  the  case  of  Lord  Cairns,  who  yielded 
most  unwillingly  to  the  general  wish,  Lord  Salisbury  being  one 
of  the  warmest  of  his  solicitors.  It  was  so  in  my  own  case. 
Lord  Derby  never  appointed  me  to  the  leadership,  but  the  party 
chose  to  follow  me  and  the  rest  ensued. 

The  same  jealousy  of  interference  with  an  arrangement  in 
which  their  own  feelings  and  even  tastes  should  pre-eminently 
be  consulted  would  no  doubt  be  felt,  if  the  leadership  of  a  House 
was  to  be  decided  by  the  votes  of  those  who  did  not  sit  in  it. 

I  make  no  doubt  our  friends  in  the  House  of  Lords  will  in 
due  season  find  their  becoming  chief;  but  our  interposition  will 
not  aid  them,  they  will  be  better  helped  to  a  decision  by 
events.  .  .  . 

The  claims  of  Salisbury  were  once  more  advocated  by  a 
section,  but  there  was  a  general  feeling  that  the  man  best 
able  to  unite  the  party  would  be  Derby.  Would  he  accept  ? 
Hardy  described  him  in  his  diary  in  December  as  '  not  quite 
willing,  but  showing  symptoms  of  persuadability.'  He  was 
elected  unanimously  at  the  beginning  of  the  session  of  1870, 
Salisbury  seconding  the  nomination,  which  was  proposed 
by  the  Duke  of  Richmond.  He  took  a  day  to  consider, 
and  then  declined ;  as  Hardy  in  restrospect  wrote,  '  He 
knew  himself  better  than  he  was  known.'  Thereupon 
Carnarvon  put  forward  the  impracticable  plan  that  Salis- 
bury should  take  an  independent  lead  in  and  for  the  Lords, 
without  holding  any  confidential  communication  with  the 

1869-1870]  SALISBURY'S  ATTITUDE  115 

leader  in  the  Commons,  who  happened  also  to  be  the  leader 
of  the  party.  The  plan  was  not  merely  impracticable;  it 
would  also  have  been  not  far  short  of  an  insult  to  Disraeli. 
This  absurdity  was  avoided,  and  finally  Richmond,  who  had 
joined  the  Cabinet  in  1867  when  the  three  seceded,  accepted 
the  *  uncoveted  position,' *  being  proposed  by  Salisbury 
and  seconded  by  Derby.  Salisbury  manifested  throughout 
a  disposition  to  resume  friendly  working  relations  with  his 
old  friends  —  except  with  Disraeli. 

How  unchanged  was  his  attitude  to  Disraeli  had  been 
shown  in  an  article  which  he  wrote  in  the  Quarterly  Review 
in  the  autumn  of  1869,  on  '  The  Past  and  the  Future  of 
Conservative  Policy.'  This  renewed  attack  formed  the 
logical  sequel  of  the  articles  in  1860  and  1867,2  and  like 
them  condemned  severely  the  tactics  of  selecting  the  Whigs 
for  hostility  and  the  Radicals  for  alliances.  In  the  Reform 
Act  the  party  had  committed  a  *  great  Parliamentary  sui- 
cide.' A  lurid  picture  .was  drawn  of  the  degradation  and 
danger  of  office  without  power,  as  revealed  in  past  history. 
Though  Disraeli's  name  was  never  mentioned,  it  required 
only  the  most  superficial  knowledge  of  politics  to  under- 
stand that  it  was  he  who  was  portrayed  as  the  '  dishonest 
man,'  the  '  mere  political  gamester,'  to  whom  office  in  a 
minority  afforded  too  tempting  a  field;  that  it  was  his 
'  baseness '  and  '  perpetual  political  mendicancy '  that  the 
writer  was  chastising ;  that  he  was  the  parliamentary  leader 
whose  conduct  was  described  as  worthy  of  unmitigated  con- 

To  Sir  Anthony  de  Rothschild. 

HUGHENDEN  MANOR,  Dec.  30,  1869. — A  battalion  of  pheasants, 
and  some  hares,  arrived  here  yesterday,  without  any  label,  but 
the  porter  said,  that,  tho'  it  had  been  lost,  there  was  no  doubt 
that  the  game  was  for  Hughenden  and  that  it  had  come  from 

No  one  in  that  direction  cd.  be  so  magnificent  except  yourself. 
You  not  only  send  many  pheasants,  but  you  send  pheasants  worth 

1  See  Gathorne  Hardy,  Vol.  I.,  pp.  294,  295. 

2  See  Vol.  IV.,  pp.  285-293,  556,  557. 


eating;  nothing  could  be  finer  than  those  wh.  preceded  the  last 

There  is  no  middle  state  in  this  bird.  A  pheasant  is  '  aut 
Caesar,  aut  nihiU  .  .  . 

To   Lord  Derby. 

GROSVENOB  GATE,  Feb.  1,  1870. —  Will  you  come  and  dine  at  a 
large  House  of  Commons  dinner  —  forty  —  here  on  Wednesday 
the  16th? 

And  if  you  will,  wh.  will  please  them  much,  shall  I  ask  some 
swells  to  meet  you,  K.G.'s  and  that  sort  of  thing  —  or  would  you 
prefer  being  the  sole  swell,  like  a  big  boy  to  the  old  school  for  a 
day?  I  think  that  would  be  more  characteristic,  but  just  as 
you  please.1 

The  disestablishment  of  the  Irish  Church  did  less  than 
nothing  for  the  moment  to  promote  that  pacification  of 
Ireland  towards  which  it  was  to  be  the  first  step ;  a  tempest 
of  sedition  and  crime  swept  in  1869  over  the  island  which 
Abercorn  and  Mayo,  the  Tory  Viceroy  and  Chief  Secretary, 
had  brought  into  comparative  order.  Gladstone,  though  he 
admitted,  in  the  language  of  the  Queen's  Speech  of  1870, 
that  '  the  recent  extension  of  agrarian  crime  in  several 
parts  of  Ireland '  had  caused  the  Government  '  painful  con- 
cern/ held  it  to  be  all  the  more  imperative  to  proceed  with 
his  second  Irish  measure,  a  Land  Bill ;  and  Disraeli,  in  his 
speech  on  the  Address,  promised  a  candid  consideration  for 
Ministerial  proposals,  though  he  pointed  out  that  the  tenure 
of  land  in  Ireland  was  an  old  grievance,  and  could  not 
possibly  be  the  immediate  cause  of  the  present  disorder. 
That  disorder  he  attributed  mainly  to  the  extravagant  hopes 
which  the  policy  of  the  Government  and  the  language  of 
their  supporters  had  encouraged.  The  Irish  people  rea- 
soned :  '  Is  it  not  a  natural  consequence  that  if  you  settle 
the  question  of  the  Irish  Church  by  depriving  the  bishops 
and  rectors  of  their  property,  you  will  settle  the  question 
of  the  land  by  depriving  the  landlords  of  their  property  ? ' 

i  Derby  accepted  the  second  alternative ;  but  the  dinner  had  to  be 
abandoned,  as  Disraeli,  when  the  time  came,  was  confined  to  his  room 
by  illness. 

1870]  CRIME  IN  IRELAND  117 

Disraeli  called  attention  to  a  recent  election  for  Tipperary 
in  which  the  Government  candidate,  who  had  been  Law 
Adviser  at  Dublin  Castle,  pledged  himself  to  an  extreme 
policy,  and  yet  was  beaten  by  a  convicted  Fenian,  O'Donovan 
Rossa.  '  The  people  of  Ireland  had  to  choose  between  a 
sham  Fenian  and  a  real  Fenian,  and  it  is  astonishing  what 
a  preference  is  always  given  to  the  genuine  article.'  Then 
the  Government,  long  so  tolerant  of  disorder,  at  last  took 

Horrible  scenes  of  violence  had  been  occurring  in  Ireland, 
but  the  Government  would  never  move.  Landlords  were  shot 
down  like  game,  respectable  farmers  were  beaten  to  death  with 
sticks  by  masked  men;  bailiffs  were  shot  in  the  back;  policemen 
were  stabbed;  the  High  Sheriff  of  a  county  going  to  swear  in 
the  grand  jury  was  fired  at  in  his  carriage  and  dangerously 
wounded;  households  were  blown  up,  and  firearms  surreptitiously 
obtained.  All  this  time  the  Government  would  not  move;  but 
the  moment  the  Government  candidate  was  defeated  at  the 
hustings  —  a  Government  candidate  pledged  to  confiscation, 
pledged  to  a  course  of  action  which  would  destroy  all  civil 
government  —  the  moment  that  occurred  there  was  panic  in  the 
Castle,  there  was  confusion  in  the  Council;  the  wires  of  Alder- 
shot  were  agitated;  troops  were  put  in  motion,  sent  across  from 
Liverpool  to  Dublin,  and  concentrated  in  Waterford,  Tipperary, 
and  Cork.  ...  I  remember  one  of  Her  Majesty's  Ministers 
[Bright]  saying,  I  think  last  year,  '  Anyone  can  govern  Ireland 
with  troops  and  artillery.'  So  it  seems;  even  that  right  hon- 
ourable gentleman. 

The  speech  appears  to  have  been  generally  admired. 
Malmesbury  wrote  to  Cairns :  l  Lady  Tankerville  says  that 
at  the  opening  of  the  session  Bright  had  become  dizzy,  and 
Dizzy  had  become  bright.' 

To  Sir  Joseph  Napier. 

Confidential.  GROSVENOR  GATE,  Feb.  21,  1870. —  It  is  eighteen 
years  since  you  and  I  first  conferred  together  about  an  Irish 
Land  Bill.  It  was  a  great  thing  then  for  me  to  have  such  an 
adviser,  and  it  would  have  been  a  wise  thing  if  our  friends  had 
adopted  the  result  of  our  labors. 

Now  I  am  in  a  very  different  situation.     Not  a  single  Irish 


lawyer  in  the  H.  of  Commons,  at  least  on  our  benches,  except 
Ball,  who  is  of  course  in  the  diocese  of  Armagh;  even  Cairns 
has  departed  for  Mentone.  On  the  7th  I  have  to  express  my 
views  on  the  Government  Bill.  What  a  situation  for  the  leader 
of  a  party ;  as  Bright  says,  '  still  a  great  party ! ' 

Under  these  circumstances  I  write  to  you,  my  old  confederate. 
Can  you  find  time  from  your  ecumenical  council  to  give  me  the 
results  of  your  reflections  on  the  Government  scheme,  and  such 
materials  as  may  be  opportune  and  profitable  to  me? 

I  don't  even  know  whether  the  Ulster  right  can  be  enforced 
in  •»  court  of  law,  and  there  is  nobody  here  to  tell  me!  I  must 
therefore  summon  '  Napier  to  the  rescue.' 

Gladstone's  Bill  was  directed  to  the  security  of  the  Irish 
tenant,  who,  contrary  to  the  usual  practice  in  England,  had 
generally  received  his  land  in  a  prairie  condition  from  the 
landlord,  and  had  done  all  the  draining,  reclaiming,  fencing, 
farm-building,  and  other  improvement  himself.  By  custom 
in  Ulster  and  in  some  other  parts  of  Ireland,  so  long  as 
the  tenant  paid  his  rent  he  could  not  be  evicted;  and  on 
giving  up  his  farm  he  could  claim  compensation  for  un- 
exhausted improvements  and  sell  the  goodwill  for  what  it 
would  fetch  in  the  market.  Where  no  custom  prevailed, 
the  landlord  was  at  liberty  to  raise  the  rent  in  proportion 
as  the  tenant  improved  the  land,  and  to  evict  him  at  will 
without  compensation.  Roughly  speaking,  Gladstone's  Bill 
turned  the  Ulster  custom  into  law  and  extended  it  through- 
out Ireland,  thus  giving  the  Irish  tenant  an  estate  in  the 
land  he  f armect  So  far  as  the  measure  provided  for  com- 
pensation, and  retrospective  compensation,  to  the  tenant, 
Disraeli  was  heartily  in  its  favour,  as  this  was  one  main 
principle  of  the  Bills  which  Napier  prepared  under  his 
auspices  in  1852 ;  and  he  therefore  announced  on  the  second 
reading  that  some  legislation  was  necessary  and  that  he 
should  support  the  Bill  in  principle.  But  he  had  his  doubts 
about  the  wisdom  of  turning  custom  into  law. 

The  moment  you  legalise  a  custom  you  fix  its  particular  char- 
acter ;  but  the  value  of  a  custom  is  its  flexibility,  and  that  it  adapts 
itself  to  all  the  circumstances  of  the  moment  and  of  the  locality. 


All  these  qualities  are  lost  the  moment  you  crystallise  a  custom 
into  legislation.  Customs  may  not  be  as  wise  as  laws,  but  they 
are  always  more  popular.  They  array  upon  their  side  alike  the 
convictions  and  the  prejudices  of  men.  They  are  spontaneous. 
They  grow  out  of  man's  necessities  and  invention;  and,  as 
circumstances  change  and  alter  and  die  off,  the  custom  falls 
into  desuetude  and  we  get  rid  of  it.  But  if  you  make  it  into 
law,  circumstances  alter,  but  the  law  remains,  and  becomes  part 
of  fhat  obsolete  legislation  which  haunts  our  statute-book  and 
harasses  society. 

Disraeli  deplored  the  interference  with  freedom  of  con- 
tract effected  by  the  Bill;  but  Gladstone  asked  with  some 
force  whether  Disraeli  would  allow  the  tenant  to  contract 
himself  out  of  its  benefits.  By  far  Disraeli's  shrewdest  and 
most  incisive  criticism  was  that  the  Bill  terminated  *  at 
one  fell  swoop  all  moral  relations  between  the  owner  and 
occupier/  and  endeavoured  to  establish  a  purely  commercial 
relation  between  them.  Yet,  if  ever  there  was  a  state  of 
society  where  the  relations  should  be  paternal,  where  for- 
bearance should  be  shown  to  the  tenant  who  from  vicissitudes 
of  seasons  is  in  arrear  with  his  rent,  it  was  Ireland,  where 
there  were  farmers  holding  only  one  acre.  Hitherto  small 
tenants  had  not  appealed  in  vain  *  to  the  distinguished  facil- 
ity and  good  nature  of  the  Irish  landlord.'  But  why  should 
forbearance  be  shown  when  the  tenant  in  arrear  is  a  co- 
partner, in  getting  rid  of  whom  the  landlord  has  a  direct 
interest,  and  when  the  payment  of  rent  is  the  only  bond? 
Disraeli  developed  this  point  in  Committee,  when  he  re- 
duced the  majority  of  the  Government  to  seventy-six  on  an 
amendment  limiting  compensation  to  unexhausted  improve- 
ments. The  landlord  would  say  to  the  tenant  in  future, 
argued  Disraeli,  *  We  must  both  stand  upon  our  rights. 
This  new-fangled  law,  which  has  given  you  a  contingent 
remainder  to  the  third  of  my  freehold,  has  at  least  given 
me  this  security,  that  if  you  do  not  pay  me  your  rent  I  may 
get  rid  of  you.'  Evictions  would  naturally  follow;  there 
would  be  a  new  grievance,  the  payment  of  rent;  and  the 
non-payment  of  rent  would  become  a  principle  asserted  by 


the  same  rural  logic  which  had  produced  the  crimes  and 
horrors  of  the  past  year.  There  would  be  great  complaints 
of  vexatious  and  tyrannical  evictions,  and  the  occupiers 
would  assert  their  supposed  rights  by  the  most  violent 
means.  '  So  far  from  the  improvement  of  the  country 
terminating  all  these  misunderstandings  and  heartburnings, 
which  we  seem  now  so  anxious  on  both  sides  of  the  House  to 
bring  to  a  close,  you  will  have  the  same  controversies  still 
raging,  only  with  increased  acerbity,  and  under  circum- 
stances and  conditions  which  must  inevitably  lead  to  in- 
creased bitterness  and  increased  perils  to  society.' 

It  was  a  speech  of  extraordinary  prescience,  predicting 
with  exactness  the  course  which  the  agrarian  movement 
followed  in  Ireland  during  the  next  ten  or  fifteen  years. 
In  painful  contrast  was  Gladstone's  optimistic  reply,  in- 
sisting that  the  measure  was  an  exceptional  one  to  meet  a 
temporary  need,  and  expressing  the  hope  that  the  time 
would  come  when  it  would  be  no  longer  necessary  and  free- 
dom of  contract  would  be  restored.  Though  he  anticipated 
the  failure  of  Gladstone's  scheme,  Disraeli  did  not  realise, 
any  more  than  Gladstone,  that  the  creation  by  the  aid  of 
the  State  of  a  peasant  proprietary  was,  as  Bright  with  real 
vision  maintained,  and  subsequent  history  has  shown,  the 
true  remedy  for  agrarian  discontent  in  Ireland.  To  placate 
Bright,  Gladstone  did  indeed  frame  some  inadequate  clauses 
with  this  object,  but  he  laid  no  stress  on  them,  and  Disraeli 
even  singled  out  these  clauses  for  disapproval.  However, 
having  recognised  the  necessity  of  legislation,  Disraeli  dis- 
couraged divisions  on  both  second  and  third  readings ;  and, 
the  Opposition  in  the  Lords  following  the  example  of  the 
Commons,  the  experiment  which  Gladstone  sanguinely  advo- 
cated was  duly  tried  —  and  proved  so  inadequate  that  in 
ten  years  its  author  had,  with  unabated  optimism,  to  set  his 
hand  once  more  to  the  same  task. 

The  other  great  measure  of  the  session,  the  one  whose 
passage  was  perhaps  the  foremost  distinction  of  Gladstone's 
Ministry,  Forster's  Education  Bill,  was  actively  assisted 


by  the  Conservative  party,  under  Disraeli's  direction.  He 
had  claimed  at  Edinburgh,  in  the  autumn  of  1867,  that 
from  his  entry  into  public  life  he  had  done  his  best  to 
promote  the  cause  of  popular  education.  He  had  given 
it  a  prominent  place  in  his  address  when  first  elected  for 
Bucks  in  1847;  one  of  the  outstanding  features  of  his 
scheme  for  administrative  reform  in  1855  was  the  consti- 
tution of  education  as  a  separate  Ministry  with  a  Secretary 
of  State  as  its  head;  the  Derby-Disraeli  Government  of 
1858  appointed  the  Newcastle  Commission  on  the  subject; 
and,  while  the  last  Palmerston  Government  had  persistently 
neglected  to  take  any  steps  in  consequence  of  the  Commis- 
sion's Report,  save  to  enforce  the  very  questionable  recom- 
mendation of  payment  by  results,  Disraeli's  first  Ministry 
in  1868  prepared  and  submitted,  through  the  Duke  of 
Marlborough,  to  the  House  of  Lords,  a  comprehensive 
scheme  which,  at  least  in  the  importance  attached  to  the 
Education  Department,  was  even  in  advance  of  Forster's 
measure.  But  Forster  introduced  the  principle  of  a  local 
rate  which  Disraeli's  Ministry  had  shirked,  and  his  scheme, 
while  increasing  the  Government  grants  to  denominational 
schools,  mainly  belonging  to  the  Church  of  England,  already 
in  existence,  provided  for  supplementing  their  deficiencies 
by  the  creation  of  school  boards  all  over  the  country,  which 
should  establish  and  conduct  rate-aided  schools,  so  that 
elementary  education  should  be  ultimately  provided  for 
every  English  child.  The  great  difficulty,  then  as  sub- 
sequently, proved  to  be  the  religious  teaching.  The  gen- 
eral sense  of  the  House  and  of  the  country  was  that  the  Bible 
should  be  read  and  that  there  should  be  religious  education 
in  all  schools,  guarded  by  a  conscience  clause;  but  the 
Radicals  and  the  bulk  of  the  Dissenters  pressed  for  an  en- 
tirely secular  system.  This  the  Government  could  not 
concede;  but  they  ultimately  accepted  a  compromise,  pro- 
posed by  Cowper  Temple,  a  Whig,  providing  that,  while  the 
Bible  should  be  read  and  explained,  no  catechism  or  other 
distinctive  formulary  should  be  taught  in  a  board  school. 


Disraeli  immediately  fastened  on  the  weakness  of  this  ar- 
rangement. The  schoolmaster  could  not,  he  pointed  out, 
teach,  enforce,  and  explain  the  Bible  without  drawing  some 
conclusions,  and  what  could  those  be  but  dogmas  ?  '  You 
will  not  entrust  the  priest  or  the  presbyter,'  he  said,  l  with 
the  privilege  of  expounding  the  Holy  Scripture  to  the 
scholars ;  but  for  that  purpose  you  are  inventing  and  estab- 
lishing a  new  sacerdotal  class.  The  schoolmaster  who  will 
exercise  these  functions  .  .  .  will  in  the  future  exercise 
an  extraordinary  influence  upon  the  history  of  England  and 
upon  the  conduct  of  Englishmen.'  In  a  speech  in  the 
autumn  at  a  Bucks  diocesan  meeting  he  described  the  new 
Act,  though  it  was  a  step  in  advance,  as  but  a  measure  of 
transition,  with  which  the  English  people  would  not  be 
satisfied  in  the  long  run.  They  would  require  richer  and 
more  various  elementary  education,  and,  when  they  obtained 
that,  they  would  require  a  religious  education,  because  as 
their  intelligence  expanded  and  was  cultivated  they  would 
require  information  as  to  the  most  interesting  of  all  knowl- 
edge—  the  relations  which  exist  between  God  and  man. 
The  various  subsequent  modifications  in  our  education 
policy,  culminating  in  the  Act  of  1902,  and  in  Mr.  Fisher's 
Bill  of  the  current  year  (1918),  testify  to  Disraeli's  fore- 
sight. With  one  immediate  result  of  Forster's  policy  he 
must  have  been  well  content  —  the  opening  of  a  rift  between 
the  Gladstone  Ministry  and  its  erstwhile  devoted  supporters, 
the  political  Dissenters.  He  was  careful  to  avoid  incon- 
siderate attacks  which  might  draw  his  opponents  together. 
Not  merely  the  policy  of  reserve  which  he  had  deliberately 
adopted,  but  ill-health  of  a  continued  character  greatly  re- 
stricted Disraeli's  activities  during  the  session ;  and  on  sev- 
eral occasions  he  had  to  rely  upon  Hardy,  his  '  sword-arm,' 
to  take  his  place.  Writing  to  Lennox  in  July  he  said :  ( I 
have  been  unwell  all  this  year,  and  am  afraid  I  have  thought 
too  much  of  myself.  Illness  makes  one  selfish  and  disgusts 
one's  friends.'  A  letter  to  Northcote,  who  had  gone  to 

1870]  ILL-HEALTH  123 

Canada,  as  Chairman  of  the  Hudson  Bay  Company,  in  con- 
nection with  disputes  between  the  company  and  the  Canadian 
Government,  gives  a  picture  of  the  work  of  the  session  up 
to  May. 

To  Sir  Stafford  Northcote. 

GROSVENOR  GATE,  May  14,  1870.—.  .  .  The  Land  Bill  after 
Easter  moved ;  and  then,  like  a  ship  on  the  stocks,  moved  rapidly. 
T  think  the  Lords  will  certainly  have  it  before  Whitsun.  It  has 
been  greatly  modified  in  Committee  —  much  by  the  Govt.  yield- 
ing to  Roundell  Palmer  and  Co.;  and  much  by  our  friend  Ball, 
who  has  shown  as  much  resource  and  knowledge  as  on  the 
Irish  Church  Bill,  and  with  a  happier  result  We  must  be 
cautious  in  not  over-altering  it  in  the  Lords. 

There  is  a  hitch  about  the  Education  Bill.  Gladstone,  I  ap- 
prehend, is  prepared  to  secularise,  if  he  were  only  convinced  he 
could  keep  his  majority  together  by  that  process.  But  the  ele- 
ments of  the  calculation  are  various  and  discordant,  and  every 
possible  result,  therefore,  doubtful. 

The  Ballot  bothers  me.  Cross  and  the  Lancashire  men  are 
all  in  favor  of  it,  and  say  that  at  this  moment  we  should  carry 
every  great  town  in  the  North,  were  it  adopted.  But  I  apprehend 
the  great  body  of  our  friends  would  not  like  to  see  it  applied 
to  counties;  and  then  there  are  Ireland  and  Scotland  and  Wales 
also  to  be  remembered.  We  are  going  to  have  a  council  in  a 
day  or  two;  the  leading  members  of  both  Houses,  and  some 
representative  men.  I  miss  you  sadly  on  these  occasions,  and 
indeed  always. 

The  great  social  event  is  Derby's  approaching  marriage.  He 
is  radiant  with  happiness.  Literally  you  would  not  know  him. 

I  can't  say  much  for  myself.  I  have  been  to  the  seaside;  but 
it  has  brought  me  no  relief,  and  I  still  suffer,  which  is  dis- 
heartening. .  .  . 

Derby  was  about  to  marry  Salisbury's  stepmother,  who 
had  long  been  a  friend  of  Disraeli's,  and  had  frequently 
entertained  him  at  Hatfield  during  the  last  twenty  years. 
To  his  sister  he  described  her  in  1851  as  '  an  admirable 
hostess  and  a  very  pleasing  woman ;  great  simplicity,  quite  a 
Sackville.' l 

i  See  Vol.  III.,  p.  336. 


To  Lord  Derby. 

GROSVENOB  GATE,  May  7,  1870. —  Next  to  yourself,  by  what 
you  tell  me,  no  man,  perhaps,  will  be  happier,  than  I  am.  Under 
this  roof,  we  have  long,  and  fondly,  wished,  that  this  shd.  happen. 
The  lady  I  have  ever  loved;  and  if  fine  intelligence,  a  thought- 
ful mind,  the  sweetest  temper  in  the  world,  and  many  charms, 
can  make  a  man  happy,  your  felicity  is  secured. 

Marriage  is  the  happiest  state  in  the  world,  when  there  is, 
on  each  side,  a  complete  knowledge  of  the  characters  united. 
That  you  have  secured  —  and  to  all  the  many  blessings  wh. 
distinguish  you  in  life,  rank,  wealth,  and,  above  all,  great 
abilities,  you  have  had  the  wisdom  to  add  the  only  element,  wh. 
was  wanting  to  complete  the  spell. 

Lady   Beaconsfield   sends   you   her   congratulations   thro'   her 
tears  —  of  joy. 

To  Gathorne  Hardy. 

GROSVENOR  GATE,  May  22,  '70. —  I  am  sorry  —  very  —  to  say, 
that  you  must  not  count  on  me  to-morrow  to  support  and  assist 
you  in  the  debate  on  University  Tests,  as  was  my  hope,  and  firm 
intention.  My  medicos  declare  that  I  must  not  attempt  any- 
thing like  public  speaking  at  present,  and  refrain,  indeed,  as 
much  as  possible,  from  private. 

Tho'  I  hope  I  shall  get  it  all  straight,  my  right  lung  is  seri- 
ously affected,  and  it  is  no  use  any  longer  to  tamper  with  it. 
Remedies,  and  quiet,  and  this  hot  weather,  may  put  all  to  rights, 
and  in  a  short  time,  but  I  must  try  them. 

It  pains  me  to  leave  a  faithful  colleague  to  struggle  alone 
with  a  difficult  question  —  but  you  will  do  all  that  man  can  do, 
which  is  my  consolation,  tho'  not  a  sufficient  one. 

Hardy's  own  account  of  Disraeli's  health  and  views  is 
given  in  his  diary  for  May  22 :  l  Called  on  Disraeli,  who 
remains  poorly  and  dreads  the  east  wind.  He  is  despond- 
ing, but  looks  forward  to  Gladstone  becoming  useless  to  the 
Radicals,  and  a  disruption.  Gives  two  years  or  more.' 

To  Lord  Stanhope. 

GROSVENOR  GATE,  July  17,  '70. — .  .  .  I  quite  agree  with  you 
about  the  division  in  the  House  of  Lords :  *  avowedly  to  regulate 

i  On  a  motion  by  Salisbury,  the  recently  elected  Chancellor  of  the 
University  of  Oxford,  which  defeated  the  second  reading  of  the  Uni- 
versity Tests  Bill. 

From  a  portrait  after  J.  Sivinton,  at  Hughendtn. 

1870]  FRANCO-GERMAN  WAR  125 

that  assembly  by  the  prejudices,  or  convictions,  of  the  University 
of  Oxford,  cannot  be  wise.  Some  think,  however,  that  the  great 
event  of  the  last  eight  and  forty  hours  may  bring  about  a  state 
of  affairs  more  suitable  to  a  policy  of  resistance,  tho'  that  was 
not  contemplated  by  the  instigator  in  the  present  instance. 

I  dined  at  York  House,  Twickenham,  yesterday:  a  curious 
and  interesting  moment  to  be  a  guest  there.  It  was  not  won- 
derful, that  my  host x  should  be  somewhat  excited.  It  is  an 
important  break  in  the  existence  of  himself  and  his  brother 
colonists.  One  of  the  guests,  however,  did  not  think  so;  and 
said  they  were  forgotten,  and  had  done  nothing  to  make  them- 
selves remembered.  We  shall  see!  They  may  be  wanted.  No- 
body is  forgotten,  when  it  is  convenient  to  remember  him. 

'  The  great  event  of  the  last  eight  and  forty  hours '  was 
indeed  calculated  to  alter  men's  views  and  affect  their  poli- 
cies. The  relations  of  France  and  Prussia  had  caused  the 
statesmen  of  Europe,  and  Disraeli  among  them,  grave  anxi- 
ety ever  since  1866 ;  and  when  he  wrote  this  letter  to  Stan- 
hope a  sudden  dispute  between  the  two  countries  over  the 
offer  of  the  Spanish  throne,  to  a  Hohenzollern  prince  had, 
in  spite  of  the  prince's  withdrawal,  been  aggravated,  by 
Bismarck's  unscrupulous  manipulation  and  Napoleon's 
fatal  folly,  into  a  quarrel  which  only  the  sword  could  de- 
cide. A  despatch  from  Ems,  describing  the  diplomatic 
proceedings  between  Benedetti,  the  French  Minister,  and 
the  King  of  Prussia,  had  been  so  dexterously  edited  by 
Bismarck  as  to  prove,  as  he  hoped  and  expected,  a  red  rag 
to  the  Gallic  bull.  French  mobilisation  had  been  ordered ; 
the  Parisians  were  shouting  '  To  Berlin ' ;  a  declaration 
of  war  was  inevitable  within  a  few  days.  Bismarck's  share 
in  provoking  the  explosion  was  not  then  known ;  and  Disraeli 
was  at  one  with  public  opinion  in  England  in  casting  all  the 
blame  on  Napoleon's  ambition  and  French  recklessness. 
Moreover,  in  expressing  the  view  that  a  Sovereign  who 
trusted  to  melodramatic  catastrophes,  such  as  military  sur- 
prises and  the  capture  of  capitals,  would  have  to  meet  '  a 
more  powerful  force  than  any  military  array,'  namely,  '  the 

i  The  Comte  de  Paris. 


outraged  opinion  of  an  enlightened  world/  he  showed  that 
he  was  not  himself  entirely  emancipated  from  the  senti- 
mental optimism  about  international  relations  which  was 
rampant  among  his  political  opponents. 

For  a  quarter  of  a  century  Disraeli  had  preached  that 
a  good  understanding  with  France  should  be  the  basis  of 
British  foreign  policy;  and  when  in  office,  both  in  1852 
and  in  1858-1859,  had  acted  throughout  in  the  spirit  of 
that  creed.  It  was  not  without  great  reluctance,  and  only 
after  mature  consideration  and  the  experience  of  Napo- 
leon's ambition  and  instability  gained  during  his  two  years 
and  a  half  of  office  in  1866-1868,  that,  like  Palmerston  in 
ihis  latter  days,  he  abandoned  the  theory  as  no  longer  prac- 
.  ticable ;  and,  in  spite  of  a  profound  distrust  of  Bismarck's 
policy,  began  to  incline  rather  to  the  Court  view  that  the 
more  natural  affinity  of  Great  Britain  was  with  the  Ger- 
mans, who  had  often  been  our  allies  and  never  our  enemies. 
The  behaviour  of  the  French  Government  and  people  in 
July,  1870,  confirmed  him  in  his  new  faith;  and  so  too  did 
the  calculated  revelation,  by  Bismarck,  at  this  critical  mo- 
ment, of  the  overtures  made  to  (and  perhaps  perfidiously 
provoked  by)  him,  in  1866  and  subsequently,  to  abet  a 
French  conquest  of  Belgium  in  return  for  compensations 
to  Prussia  in  South  Germany. 

But,  though  Disraeli  considered  that  the  orientation  of 
our  European  policy  must  be  changed,  he  was  as  determined 
as  the  Government  that  Great  Britain  must  preserve  a  strict 
neutrality  in  the  war.  Only  he  insisted,  in  a  speech  on 
August  1,  that  it  must  be  an  armed  neutrality,  a  neutrality 
which  on  the  right  occasion  might  speak  with  authority 
to  the  belligerents.  In  such  a  neutrality  he  hoped  we  might 
be  able  to  secure  the  co-Operation  of  Russia.  But,  he  asked, 
were  our  armaments  in  a  condition  to  enable  us  to  adopt 
this  policy?  This,  though  he  omitted  to  claim  the  credit, 
was  a  question  he  had  every  right  to  put,  as  the  additions 
to  the  navy  and  army  estimates  which  his  own  Government 
had  wisely  sanctioned  were  fiercely  denounced  by  the  Lib- 


erals  during  the  General  Election  of  1868;  and  the  Glad- 
stone Ministry,  in  spite  of  the  unstable  European  equili- 
brium, had  boasted  of  the  economies  and  reductions  they 
had  effected  during  their  two  years  of  office.  Disraeli  had 
made  careful  inquiries,  as  the  Beaconsfield  correspondence 
shows,  into  the  actual  condition  of  our  armed  forces,  and 
warned  the  Government  that  there  were  defects  urgently 
requiring  to  be  supplied.  Let  them  remember  the  humilia- 
tion the  country  suffered  at  the  time  of  the  Crimean  War, 
because  of  the  failure  of  the  Aberdeen  Government  to  come 
to  a  decision  in  time.  Let  them  speak  to  foreign  Powers 
with  that  clearness  and  firmness  which  could  only  arise  from 
a  due  conception  of  their  duties  and  a  determination  to  ful- 
fil them. 

In  this  speech  Disraeli  dwelt  upon  the  vital  importance 
of  securing  the  neutrality  and  independence  of  Belgium, 
guaranteed  by  the  Treaty  of  1839.  Here  he  was  forcing 
an  open  door,  as  Ministers,  moved  by  Bismarck's  revelation, 
negotiated  a  fresh  treaty  with  France  and  Prussia,  by  which, 
in  the  event  of  the  violation  of  Belgian  neutrality  by  either 
of  the  belligerent  Powers,  England  bound  herself  to  co- 
operate with  the  other  to  ensure  its  observance.  This  satis- 
fied public  opinion  both  in  England  and  in  Belgium;  and, 
though  Disraeli  expressed  a  doubt  whether  a  fresh  treaty 
was  required  and  whether  a  notice  of  England's  firm  de- 
termination to  uphold  the  Treaty  of  1839  would  not  have 
been  sufficient,  he  accepted  the  resolve  to  maintain  the  in- 
dependence of  Belgium  as  a  wise  and  spirited  policy.  '  It 
is  of  the  highest  importance  to  this  country  that  the  whole 
coast  from  Ostend  to  the  North  Sea  should  be  in  the  posses- 
sion of  flourishing  communities,  from  whose  ambition,  lib- 
erty, or  independence  neither  England  nor  any  other  coun- 
try can  be  menaced.' 

From  Disraeli's  correspondence  of  the  autumn  we  can 
obtain  glimpses  into  his  feelings  as  to  the  rapid  and  startling 
German  victories ;  the  announcement  of  the  impending  mar- 
riage of  a  daughter  of  the  Sovereign  to  a  subject,  Lord 


Lome ;  and  the  progress  of  Conservatism  among  the  elector- 

To  Lord  Derby. 

GROSVENOR  GATE,  Aug.  17,  1870. —  I  am  here,  the  focus  of  all 
intelligence,  and  where  we  get  news  sooner,  than  at  Berlin  or 

I  do  not  much  believe  in  the  great  battle,  wh.  they  say  is 
going  on.  The  French  are  in  full  retreat  on  their  whole  line, 
and  the  Prussians,  as  is  usual  under  such  circumstances,  are 
following  them  up  and  harassing  them.  Being  strong  in 
cavalry,  the  Germans  have  an  additional  advantage. 

This  collapse  of  France  has  all  come  from  the  Emperor's 
policy  of  nationality.  That  has  created  Italy  and  Germany; 
wh.  has  destroyed  the  French  monopoly  of  Continental  com- 
pactness. The  Emperor  started  this  hare  in  order  that  he  might 
ultimately  get  Belgium.  Belgium  is  safe  and  France  is 
smashed!  .  .  . 

England  is  busy  at  mediation,  but  Prussia  thinks  the  Gauls 
are  not  yet  sufficiently  humiliated.  Russia  jealous  of  Prussia, 
yet  hating  France  —  England  strong  in  words,  but  a  mediation 
of  phrases  won't  do. 

P.S.     I  never  was  better:  quite,  quite  myself. 

To  Lord  Cairns. 

Oct.  9,  1870. — .  .  .  I  have  entirely  cured  mine  [gout]  by  giv- 
ing up  sugar,  burgundy,  and  champagne  —  almost  as  great  a 
surrender  as  Sedan! 

To  Montagu  Corry. 

HUGHENDEN,  Oct.  9,  '70. —  We  go  to-morrow  to  Lord  Bathurst's, 
and  I  expect  to  be  in  town  on  Friday  night  and  on  the  follow- 
ing Monday  to  Knowsley.  We  have  refused  almost  every  invi- 
tation this  year,  and  particularly  those  at  a  distance;  but  found 
it  impossible  to  say  no  to  Lord  and  Lady  Derby:  the  first 
gathering  of  their  friends.  I  look  forward  to  the  journey  with 
fear  and  trembling:  having  scarcely  ever  left  this  delicious  place 
in  this  delicious  weather.  .  .  . 

To  Queen  Victoria. 

[Oct.  1870,]  Mr.  Disraeli  with  his  humble  duty  thanks  your 
Majesty  for  your  gracious  kindness  in  communicating  to  him 

1870]        .     PRINCESS  LOUISE'S  MARRIAGE  129 

through  Lady  Ely  the  very  happy  news  of  the  approaching 
marriage  of  the  Princess  Louise. 

The  engaging  demeanor  of  Her  Royal  Highness,  her  beauty, 
her  sensibility  and  refined  taste  had  always  interested  him  in 
her  career  and  made  him  desirous  that  her  lot  should  not  be 
unworthy  of  a  nature  so  full  of  sweetness  and  promise. 

What  is  about  to  happen  seems  to  him  as  wise  as  it  is  roman- 
tic. Your  Majesty  has  decided  with  deep  discrimination  that 
the  time  was  ripe  for  terminating  an  etiquette  which  has  become 
sterile,  and  the  change  will  be  effected  under  every  circum- 
stance that  can  command  the  sympathy  of  the  country. 

Mr.  Disraeli  has  the  pleasure  of  knowing  Lord  Lome.  The 
gentleness  of  his  disposition  and  the  goodness  of  his  temper 
are  impressed  upon  his  countenance,  which,  while  it  is  bright 
with  cultivated  intelligence,  could  not,  he  feels  sure,  express 
an  evil  passion. 

Knowing  the  depths  of  your  Majesty's  domestic  affection, 
which  the  cares  of  State  and  the  splendor  of  existence  have 
never  for  a  moment  diminished  or  disturbed,  Mr.  Disraeli  feels 
that  he  will  be  pardoned  if  he  presumes  to  offer  your  Majesty 
his  sincere  congratulations  on  an  event  which  will  consolidate 
the  happiness  of  your  hearth. 

There  is  no  greater  risk  perhaps  than  matrimony,  but  there 
is  nothing  happier  than  a  happy  marriage. 

Though  your  Majesty  must  at  first  inevitably  feel  the  absence 
of  the  Princess  from  the  accustomed  scene,  the  pang  will  soften 
under  the  recollection  that  she  is  near  you  and  by  the  spell  of 
frequent  intercourse.  You  will  miss  her,  Madam,  only  like 
the  stars :  that  return  in  their  constant  season  and  with  all  their 

Lady  Beaconsfield  thanks  your  Majesty  for  your  Majesty's 
gracious  enquiries  after  her.  She  is,  I  am  happy  to  say,  quite 
well  and  singularly  interested  in  the  subject  of  your  Majesty's 

To  Lord  John  Manners. 

HUGHENDEN  MANOR,  Oct.  30,  1870. — .  .  .  France  can  neither 
make  peace  or  war.  No  country  in  modern  times  has  been 
placed  in  such  a  predicament,  nor  she  herself  at  any  time  except 
under  Charles  the  7th,  whose  reign  she  is  fast  reproducing. 
She  has  no  men  now,  as  then.  Will  she  have  a  maiden  ? l 

I  am  glad  to  hear  of  your  working-man's  meeting.  My 
!hope  in  them  hourly  increases.  How  well  for  the  country  that 

i  The  reference  is,  of  course,  to  Joan  of  Arc. 


we  settled  the  suffrage  question!  The  trading  agitators  have 
nothing  to  say,  or,  if  they  open  their  mouths,  are  obliged  to 
have  recourse  to  European  Jacobinism.  .  .  . 

The  Franco-German  War  had  two  by-products,  both  dis- 
tasteful to  Disraeli.  The  Italian  Government  seized  the 
opportunity  offered  by  the  withdrawal  of  the  French  gar- 
rison and  the  serious  plight  of  the  French  armies  to  enter 
and  occupy  Rome,  the  last  remnant  of  the  Papal  States, 
and  to  restrict  the  Pope's  temporal  jurisdiction  to  St. 
Peter's  and  the  Vatican.  Disraeli  regretted  the  abasement 
of  anything  that  represented,  as  the  Pope  did,  the  spiritual 
order ;  but  Protestant  and  Italophil  England  rejoiced.  The 
country,  however,  was  as  disturbed  as  was  Disraeli  when 
Russia  —  instead  of  combining,  as  he  had  hoped,  with  Great 
Britain  in  a  watchful  and  armed  neutrality  to  impose  peace 
at  a  suitable  moment  on  the  belligerents  —  took  advantage 
of  France's  critical  position  and  of  Britain's  comparative 
helplessness  to  notify  the  European  Powers,  that  she  would 
no  longer  hold  herself  bound  by  the  Black  Sea  neutralisa- 
tion clauses  of  that  Treaty  of  Paris,  which  France  and 
Britain,  as  victorious  allies  in  the  Crimean  War,  had  forced 
her  to  accept.  Granville,  who  on  Clarendon's  death  in 
the  summer  had  succeeded  him  as  Foreign  Secretary, 
strongly  protested;  and  the  Government,  by  allowing  their 
agent  to  threaten  a  war  with  Russia  which  the  Prime  Min- 
ister never  seriously  contemplated,  obtained  Bismarck's  aid 
in  getting  Russia  to  submit  her  claim  to  a  Conference  of 
the  Powers  in  London,  with  the  understanding  that  the 
modifications  she  desired  would  receive  European  assent. 

To   Lord  Derby. 

HUGHENDEN  MANOR,  Nov.  27,  1870. — .  .  .  The  Govt.  appear 
to  be  in  trouble,  and  probably  will  continue  to  be  so.  What- 
[eve]r  their  ultimate  decision,  these  matters  take  time.  But, 
no  doubt,  how  [eve]  r  they  may  act,  their  embarrassment  must  be 
great,  for  they  can  hardly  avoid  proposing  increased  armaments. 

Gladstone  wished  a  paragraph  to  be  inserted  in  The  Times 
intimating,  in  dark  and  involved  sentences,  that  he  was  not 

1870-1871]     RUSSIA  AND  TREATY  OF  PARIS  131 

the  writer,  only  the  inspirer,  of  the  Edin.  Rev.  Art. —  that  is 
to  say,  I  suppose,  dictated  it  to  Mr.  W.  H.  Gladstone  or,  perhaps, 
to  dr.  Catherine  herself  —  but  Delane  refused  his  columns  to 
the  communique  and  suggested  a  distinct  letter  from  the  Premier 
himself,  wh.  never  came.1 

Dorothy  Nevill  says  that  Lowe  impressed  on  her  to  preach 
the  only  gospel,  '  Peace  at  any  price,'  and  that  she  goes  about 
society  preaching  accordingly. 

Lome,  who  has  been  here  for  a  couple  of  days,  is  for  cross 
benches  in  the  House  of  Commons :  significant.  .  .  . 

To  the  Hon.  Algernon  Egerton. 

[  Wee.  27,  1870.] —  I  am  honored  by  the  wish  of  my  Lancashire 
friends  that  I  should  pay  them  a  visit  and  very  proud  of  it. 
But  in  the  present  critical  state  of  public  affairs  I  doubt  the 
expediency  of  political  gatherings. 

I  regret  that  Her  Majesty's  Ministers  did  not  feel  it  con- 
sistent with  their  duty  to  advise  the  summoning  of  Parliament 
before  Christmas,  but  that  meeting  cannot  now  be  long  delayed 
and  our  position  will  then  be  ascertained  from  authority,  and 
we  shall  be  better  enabled  to  consider  our  prospects.  Unques- 
tionably they  are  serious,  and  I  fear  not  likely  to  diminish 
in  gravity :  but  the  people  of  Lancashire  will  be  more  qualified 
to  form  an  opinion  upon  them  after  the  Speech  from  the  Throne ; 
and  if  at  a  fitting  season  in  the  course  of  next  year  they  con- 
tinue to  care  to  hear  my  views  of  the  condition  of  the  country 
I  shall 'feel  it  a  great  and  gratifying  distinction  to  be  their 

To  Lord  Stanhope. 

HUGHENDEN,  Jan.  22,  '71. — .  .  .  I  think  the  avoidance  of 
Parliament,  at  such  a  crisis,  is  highly  to  be  condemned:  but 
I  doubt,  whether  delays  will  mend  their  position. 

Next  to  Gambetta,  the  most  wonderful  man  of  the  day  is 

i  Lord  Morley  writes  in  Gladstone,  Bk.  VI.,  ch.  5 :  '  It  was  about  this 
time  that  Mr.  Gladstone  took  what  was,  for  a  Prime  Minister,  the 
rather  curious  step  of  volunteering  an  anonymous  article  in  a  review, 
upon  these  great  affairs  in  which  his  personal  responsibility  was  both 
heavy  and  direct.  The  precedent  can  hardly  be  called  a  good  one,  for, 
as  anybody  might  have  known,  the  veil  was  torn  asunder  in  a  few 
hours.  .  .  .  The  article  .  .  .  was  calculated  to  console  his  countrymen 
for  seeing  a  colossal  European  conflict  going  on,  without  the  privilege 
of  a  share  in  it.  One  passage  about  happy  England  —  happy  especially 
that  the  wise  dispensation  of  Providence  had  cut  her  off  by  the  streak 
of  silver  sea  from  Continental  dangers  —  rather  irritated  than  con- 


John  Russell,  who  raises  armies  by  a  stroke  of  his  pen,  and 
encourages  the  country  almost  in  '  Cambyses'  vein.'  What 
energy!  At  least  in  imagination. 

To  Lord  Derby. 

GROSVENOR  GATE,  Jan.  25,  1871. —  My  views  respecting  French 
affairs  are  the  same  as  expressed  in  our  talks  at  Knowsley  in 
the  autumn,  except  that  they  are  stronger.  I  can  conceive 
nothing  more  fatal,  than  our  entering  into  the  contest,  or  assum- 
ing an  anti-German  position;  and  deeply  regret  the  inveterate 
manner  in  wh.  Ld  Salisbury  works  the  Q \uarterly~\  Review], 
and  inspires  the  Standard,  in  that  direction.  No  one  has  recog- 
nised his  powers  more  readily  than  I  have  done  at  all  times,  but 
he  is  always  wrong. 

It  is  unnecessary  for  me,  therefore,  to  say,  that  I  entirely 
agree  with  all  you  have  written  about  France,  and  I  shall  be 
careful  to  use  no  word  in  a  contrary  spirit. 

I  am  not,  however,  sorry  to  see  the  country  fairly  frightened 
about  foreign  affairs.  1st,  because  it  is  well,  that  the  mind  of 
the  nation  should  be  diverted  from  that  morbid  spirit  of  do- 
mestic change  and  criticism,  which  has  ruled  us  too  much  for 
the  last  forty  years,  and  that  the  reign  of  priggism  should 
terminate.  It  has  done  its  work,  and  in  its  generation  very 
well,  but  there  is  another  spirit  abroad  now,  and  it  is  time  that 
there  shd.  be. 

2nd.  because  I  am  persuaded  that  any  reconstruction  of  our 
naval  and  military  systems,  that  is  practicable,  will,  on  the 
whole,  be  favorable  to  the  aristocracy,  by  wh.  I  mean  particularly 
the  proprietors  of  land :  and  3rdly  because  I  do  not  think  the 
present  party  in  power  are  well  qualified  to  deal  with  the  ex- 
ternal difficulties  wh.  await  them. 

I  cannot  believe,  that  the  conference,  tho'  peaceable,  will  be 
satisfactory,  because  I  understand  we  are  to  relinquish  all  we 
fought  for,  and  because  I  am  persuaded  that  Russia  will  make 
another  move  on  the  board  in  about  six  months'  time. 

Moreover,  tho'  I  do  not  believe  in  an  American  war,  I  think 
the  U.S.  are  going  to  worry  us.  Their  reduction  of  their  over- 
moderate  armaments  means  nothing.  Were  there  hostilities 
bet [ wee] n  U.K.  and  U.S.,  they  trust  to  privateering  mainly  for 
their  naval  offence,  and  their  military  institutions  are  of  such 
a  character,  that  they  can  create  a  powerful  army  as  quickly 
as  Germany.  The  Militia  system  of  U.S.  was  always  first-rate, 
or,  in  the  revolt,  our  Generals  would  not  have  been  beaten  by 
a  Militia  Colonel! 

1871]       DISRAELI  ON  FRANCO-GERMAN  WAR  133 

I  think  the  Government,  with  the  information  wh.  they 
possessed,  were  not  justified  in  their  reductions;  that  they  com- 
pletely blundered  the  business  when  the  crisis  arrived;  and  that 
they  do  not  comprehend  our  present  position.  On  all  these 
points  I  shall  attack  them,  and  I  shall  not  discourage  the 
country.  And  I  hope  you  will  not.  With  all  your  admirable 
prudence,  I  always  maintain  you  were  really  the  boldest  Minister 
that  ever  managed  our  external  affairs.  Witness  the  Luxem- 
burg guarantee!  the  way  in  wh.  you  baffled  Russia  about  Crete, 
when  you  were  left  alone;  and  the  Abyssinian  expedition  —  all 
successful  and  eminently  successful,  but  daring.  Made  tua, 
virtute  ! 

When  Parliament  met,  Disraeli  attacked  the  Govern- 
ment on  the  lines  of  his  letter  to  Derby.  While  he  prom- 
ised full  support  for  any  measures  they  might  propose  to 
increase  our  military  strength,  he  repeated  that  an  armed 
neutrality  might  have  prevented  war  and  would  certainly 
shorten  it.  But  how  could  such  a  policy  be  adopted  by  a 
country  without  armaments?  An  armed  neutrality  was  a 
very  serious  thing  for  a  nation  that  for  a  year  and  a  half 
had  been  disbanding  its  veterans;  a  nation  with  skeleton 
battalions  and  attenuated  squadrons,  batteries  without  suffi- 
cient guns,  and  yet  more  guns  than  gunners  ;  a  nation  with- 
out a  military  reserve;  a  nation,  moreover,  which  had  left 
off  shipbuilding,  reduced  its  crews  and  its  stores,  and  failed 
to  furnish  artillery  for  its  men-of-war.  This  was  our 
plight  when  we  were  faced  with  an  upheaval,  the  magnitude 
of  which  was  fully  realised  by  Disraeli's  vivid  imagination. 

Let  me  impress  upon  the  attention  of  the  House  the  character 
of  this  war  between  France  and  Germany.  It  is  no  common 
war,  like  the  war  between  Prussia  and  Austria,  or  like  the 
Italian  war  in  which  France  was  engaged  some  years  ago;  nor 
is  it  like  the  Crimean  War.  This  war  represents  the  German 
revolution,  a  greater  political  event  than  the  French  revolution 
of  last  century.  I  don't  say  a  greater,  or  as  great  a  social  event. 
What  its  social  consequences  may  be  are  in  the  future.  Not  a 
single  principle  in  the  management  of  our  foreign  affairs,  ac- 
cepted by  all  statesmen  for  guidance  up  to  six  months  ago,  any 
longer  exists.  There  is  not  a  diplomatic  tradition  which  has 
not  been  swept  away.  You  have  a  new  world,  new  influences 


at  work,  new  and  unknown  objects  and  dangers  with  which  to 
cope,  at  present  involved  in  that  obscurity  incident  to  novelty  in 
such  affairs.  We  used  to  have  discussions  in  this  House  about 
the  balance  of  power.  Lord  Palmerston,  eminently  a  practical 
man,  trimmed  the  ship  of  State  and  shaped  its  policy  with  a 
view  to  preserve  an  equilibrium  in  Europe.  .  .  .  But  what  has 
really  come  to  pass?  The  balance  of  power  has  been  entirely 
destroyed,  and  the  country  which  suffers  most,  and  feels  the 
effects  of  this  great  change  most,  is  England. 

The  result  of  this  destruction  of  the  balance  of  power 
was  Russia's  repudiation  of  the  Treaty  of  1856.  Russia 
had  a  policy  which,  if  inevitably  disturbing,  was  legitimate 
and  not  blameworthy.  She  wished  to  get  to  the  sea. 
Disraeli  maintained  that  she  had  already  accomplished  her 
object,  and  had  admirable  harbours.  But  her  further 
policy,  to  obtain  Constantinople,  he  pronounced  to  be  il- 
legitimate, like  the  French  claim  to  have  the  Rhine.  She 
had  no  moral  claim  to  Constantinople ;  she  did  not  represent 
the  race  to  which  it  once  belonged ;  she  had  two  capitals  al- 
ready, and  a  third  would  produce  a  dislocation  of  the  gen- 
eral arrangement  of  her  population.  This  was  the  policy 
which  we  fought  the  Crimean  War  to  frustrate;  and  now 
the  object  for  which  we  made  serious  sacrifices  of  valuable 
lives  and  treasure  was  to  be  treated  as  moonshine  and  given 
up  in  the  Conference. 

The  line  which  Gladstone  and  the  Government  took  in 
answer  to  this  argument  was  to  assert  that  Palmerston  and 
Clarendon  never  believed  that  the  neutralisation  of  the  Black 
Sea  could  last  long,  that  they  said  so  at  the  time  to  diplomat- 
ists and  in  private  conversation  with  friends,  and  that  in 
consequence  they  did  not  attach  serious  value  or  impor- 
tance to  that  part  of  the  treaty.  Lord  Morley  seems  to 
accept  these  stories  as  credible  and  conclusive.  Disraeli, 
however,  powerfully  pointed  out  in  a  subsequent  debate  l 
that  England  could  have  obtained  all  the  other  stipulations 
of  the  Treaty  of  Paris  at  the  Conference  of  Vienna  in  the 
spring  of  1855 ;  but  that  Palmerston  and  Clarendon,  sup- 

i  Feb.  24. 


ported  by  the  country,  did  not  hesitate  to  fight  for  an- 
other year  rather  than  make  peace  without  obtaining  the 
neutrality  of  the  Black  Sea.  And  yet  Ministers  were  pre- 
pared '  to  impute  to  statesmen  of  great  eminence,  and  now 
unfortunately  departed,  opinions  not  only  which  they  did 
not  hold,  but  which  were  contrary  to  their  convictions, 
which  contradicted  their  whole  policy,  and  which  would  in- 
timate that  public  men  of  the  highest  distinction  who  pro- 
posed a  policy,  in  enforcing  which  the  treasure  of  the  coun- 
try was  expended  without  stint,  and  the  most  precious  lives 
of  the  country  were  sacrificed,  were  laughing  in  their  sleeves 
at  the  excitement  of  the  nation.'  Disraeli  suggested  that 
those  who  took  Palmerston's  private  remarks  about  public 
affairs  too  seriously  forgot  that  that  eminent  man  was  a 
master  of  banter,  and  disliked  discussions  of  grave  matters 
when  not  in  his  cabinet  or  in  the  House  of  Commons. 

Gladstone,  with  a  deplorable  lack  of  humour,  had  ad- 
duced the  fact  that  he  had  himself  expressed  in  the  House 
in  1856  the  confident  conviction  that  it  was  impossible  to 
maintain  the  neutralisation  of  the  Black  Sea,  as  evidence 
of  the  view  taken  by  the  country  at  the  time.  Disraeli 
reminded  him  that  he  was  then  not  a  Minister,  nor  even 
leader  of  Opposition,  but  the  most  unpopular  member  of 
'  a  minute  coterie  of  distinguished  men  who  had  no  follow- 
ing in  the  country,'  and  whose  lukewarmness  and  hesita- 
tion were  supposed  to  have  been  responsible  for  the  Crimean 
War.  It  is  no  wonder  that  Gladstone  winced  under  this 
attack.  '  The  Premier  was  like  a  cat  on  hot  bricks,'  wrote 
a  looker-on,  '  and  presented  a  striking  contrast  to  Disraeli ; 
for  Disraeli  cuts  up  a  Minister  with  as  much  sang-froid  as 
an  anatomist  cuts  up  a  frog.  Gladstone  could  hardly  keep 
his  seat.  He  fidgetted,  took  a  quire  of  notes,  sent  for  blue 
books  and  water,  turned  down  corners,  and  "  hear-heared  " 
ironically,  or  interrupted  his  assailant  to  make  a  denial  of 
one  of  his  statements,  or  to  ask  the  page  of  a  quotation  so  fre- 
quently that  Disraeli  had  to  protest  once  or  twice  by  raising 
his  eyebrows  or  shrugging  his  shoulders.  And  when  Glad- 


stone  rose,  you  could '  see  that  every  stroke  of  Disraeli's 
had  gone  home.  He  was  in  a  white  passion,  and  almost 
choked  with  words,  frequently  pausing  to  select  the  harsh- 
est to  he  found.' 

Disraeli  satisfactorily  vindicated  Palmerston  and  Claren- 
don, and  the  bona  fides  of  British  policy  in  1855  and  1856, 
but  he  observed  a  discreet  silence  about  his  own  personal 
opinion  at  the  time,  which  he  did  not  indeed  obtrude  in 
those  years  in  debate,  but  to  which  he  had  given  frequent 
vent  in  the  Press.  As  may  be  remembered  1  he,  like  Glad- 
stone, then  thought  that  too  much  stress  was  laid  on  Black 
Sea  neutralisation,  and  that  restrictions  on  the  amount  of 
naval  force  to  be  maintained  by  a  Sovereign  Power  were 
illusory  guarantees.  So  they  had  proved  in  this  case  to  be, 
and  the  Conference  of  London  buried  them  decently  to  the 
accompaniment  of  a  special  protocol  recording  that  it  was 
'  an  essential  principle  of  the  law  of  nations  that  no  Power 
can  liberate  itself  from  the  engagements  of  a  treaty,  nor 
modify  the  stipulations  thereof,  unless  with  the  consent  of 
the  contracting  Powers  by  means  of  an  amicable  arrange- 
ment.' But  the  example  of  Russia's  success  proved  more 
powerful  than  a  paper  protocol.  In  1908  Austria,  one  of 
the  signatories  of  the  protocol,  repudiated  an  integral  por- 
tion of  the  Treaty  of  Berlin,  just  as  Russia  in  1870  had  re- 
pudiated an  integral  portion  of  the  Treaty  of  Paris;  and- 
under  the  threat  of  Germany  in  shining  armour,  Russia,  the 
Power  disregarded  in  1908,  and  Europe  acquiesced,  without 
even  providing  a  conference  to  give  the  repudiated  clauses 
decent  burial. 

What  Disraeli  said  in  the  debate  on  the  Address  about 
America  was  almost  as  noteworthy  as  what  he  said  about 
the  Franco-Prussian  War  and  the  Russian  thunderbolt. 
The  claims  of  the  United  States  against  Great  Britain,  aris- 
ing out  of  the  American  Civil  War,  were  still  unsettled; 
and,  in  consequence,  the  then  customary  licence  of  Amer- 
ican public  men  in  speaking  of  this  country  had  exceeded 
i  See  Vol.  IV.,  ch.  1. 

1871]  WARNING  TO  AMERICA  137 

all  bounds,  even  the  President  himself  and  the  Chairman 
of  the  Foreign  Affairs  Committee  of  the  Senate  having 
joined  in  it.  As  Gladstone  gracefully  confessed  in  the  de- 
bate, '  the  course  of  forbearance  and  prudence '  that  Disraeli 
pursued  during  the  Civil  War  entitled  him,  if  any  man, 
to  be  a  critic  in  this  matter  without  offence;  and  his  criti- 
cism was  very  plain  and  timely.  The  American  tone  to- 
wards Great  Britain,  he  said,  was  not,  as  he  once  thought, 
an  instance  of  '  the  rude  simplicity  of  Republican  man- 
ners ' ;  because  the  American  Government  could  be  courte- 
ous enough  to  other  Powers,  such  as  Russia  or  Germany. 
It  was  only  to  Great  Britain  that  they  were  insolent  and  of- 
fensive; and  it  was  because  they  believed  that  they  could 
adopt  this  attitude  with  impunity.  It  might  be  a  mere 
electioneering  game;  but  Disraeli  uttered  an  impressive 

The  danger  is  this  —  they  habitually  excite  the  passions  of 
millions,  and  some  unfortunate  thing  happens,  or  something 
unfortunate  is  said  in  either  country ;  the  fire  lights  up,  it  is 
beyond  their  control,  and  the  two  nations  are  landed  in  a  con- 
test which  they  can  no  longer  control  or  prevent.  .  .  .  Though 
I  should  look  upon  it  as  the  darkest  hour  of  my  life  if  I  were 
to  counsel  or  even  support  in  this  House  a  war  with  the  United 
States,  still  the  United  States  should  know  that  they  are  not  an 
exception  to  .the  other  countries  of  the  world;  that  we  do  not 
permit  ourselves  to  be  insulted  by  any  other  country  in  the 
world,  and  that  they  cannot  be  an  exception.  If  once  ...  it  is 
known  that  Her  Majesty's  dominions  cannot  be  assaulted  with- 
out being  adequately  defended,  all  this  rowdy  rhetoric,  which  is 
addressed  to  irresponsible  millions,  and  as  it  is  supposed  with  im- 
punity, will  cease. 

Gladstone  had  come  triumphantly  through  the  first  two 
sessions  of  the  1868  Parliament,  and  had  carried  three 
great  Acts  —  the  Irish  Church  Act,  the  Irish  Land  Act,  and 
the  Education  Act  —  in  such  a  manner  as  to  enhance  even 
his  Parliamentary  reputation,  and  to  confirm  the  position 
of  his  Government.  The  session  of  1871  saw  a  change. 
Russia's  high-handed  action  appeared  to  show  that  Great 


Britain  under  Gladstone  enjoyed  no  particular  considera- 
tion in  Europe,  and  his  acquiescence  in  Russian  demands, 
thinly  disguised  under  the  paraphernalia  of  a  conference, 
hurt  British  self-respect  and  disposed  people  to  look  critically 
upon  the  other  proceedings  of  his  Government.  And  partly 
through  ill-luck,  but  mainly  through  Ministerial  inepti- 
tude, there  was  much  to  criticise.  Disraeli  accordingly  be- 
came more  active,  and  began  those  mordant  and  deftly 
aimed  attacks  which  were  eventually  to  bring  the  Ministry 
to  the  ground. 

First  of  all,  the  Minister  who  had  persuaded  Parliament 
tov  discard  the  principles  it  cherished  for  England  in  order 
to  pacify  Ireland,  and  who  had  in  the  winter  testified  to 
his  belief  in  the  success  of  his  policy  by  releasing  the 
Fenians  still  in  prison,  came  nevertheless  to  Parliament, 
for  the  third  year  in  succession,  for  repressive  legislation. 
The  motion  which  the  Chief  Secretary  made  was  for  a  secret 
Committee  to  inquire  into  the  condition  of  an  Irish  county, 
Westmeath,  where  life  was  rendered  intolerable  by  gross 
and  constant  outrages.  Disraeli's  taunts  went  home. 

The  right  hon.  gentleman  [Gladstone]  persuaded  the  people 
of  England  that  with  regard  to  Irish  politics  he  was  in  posses- 
sion of  the  philosopher's  stone.  Well,  Sir,  he  has  been  returned 
to  this  House  with  an  immense  majority,  with  the  object  of 
securing  the  tranquillity  and  content  of  Ireland.  Has  anything 
been  grudged  him  ?  Time,  labour,  devotion  —  whatever  has  been 
demanded  has  been  accorded,  whatever  has  been  proposed  has 
been  carried.  Under  his  influence  and  at  his  instance  we  have 
legalised  confiscation,  consecrated  sacrilege,  condoned  high  trea- 
son ;  we  have  destroyed  churches,  we  have  shaken  property  to 
its  foundation,  and  we  have  emptied  gaols;  and  now  he  cannot 
govern  a  county  without  coming  to  a  Parliamentary  Committee ! 
The  right  hon.  gentleman,  after  all  his  heroic  exploits,  and  at 
the  head  of  his  great  majority,  is  making  government  ridiculous. 

To  Sir  Stafford  Northcote.1 

GROSVENOB  GATE,  Mar.  10,  '71. —  We  have  had  some  disquietude 
since  you  left  us,  and  nearly  a  ministerial  crisis.  Gladstone 

i  Who  was  at  Washington,  as  one  of  the  Commissioners  to  negotiate 
the  Alabama  treaty. 

1871]  A  '  HARUM-SCARUM '  BUDGET  139 

astonished  us  all  by  proposing  a  secret  Committee  on  some  Irish 
counties,  where  anarchy  is  rampant  and  spreading.  It  seemed, 
for  four  and  twenty  hours,  that  the  Government  must  have 
been  beaten :  and  I  was  obliged  to  leave  the  House  with  Hardy 
and  between  50  and  60  of  our  friends  to  prevent  a  catastrophe, 
or  something  approaching  one.  However,  affairs  now  are  calm 
again,  tho*  the  unpopularity  of  the  Government,  both  in  and 
out  of  the  House,  [is]  daily  increasing.  It  we  only  had  fifty 
more  votes,  I  could  and  would  turn  them  out,  but  in  the  present 
state  of  affairs,  they  must  remain. 

Politics  seem  also  interesting  in  your  part  of  the  world,  and 
the  expulsion  of  Sumner  *  from  the  seat  of  his  ceaseless  mischief 
and  malice  seems  to  promise  for  the  success  of  your  mission. 

If  U.S.  would  give  in  their  adhesion  to  the  Paris  Declaration,2 
my  objections  to  that  unwise  document  would  certainly  be  miti- 
gated, tho'  I  shall  always  regret  that  shallow  surrender  to  wan- 
ing Cobdenism.  I  could  not  however  sanction  the  principle  of 
private  property  at  sea,  and  I  do  not  believe,  in  the  present  state 
of  the  public  mind,  it  would  go  down.  There  is  a  rising  feeling 
that  stringent  maritime  rights  are  the  best,  perhaps  only,  check 
and  counterpoise  against  the  military  monarchies  of  the  Conti- 
nent. .  .  . 

The  Army  Bill  does  not  get  on;  the  Radicals  begin  to  think 
that,  after  doing  away  with  purchase,  they  will  have  as  aristo- 
cratic an  army  as  before. 

In  the  next  place  Lowe,  whose  Budgets  Disraeli  scornfully 
qualified  as  '  harum-scarum/  produced  his  most  harum- 
scarum  Budget  of  all.  Having  an  estimated  deficit,  due 
to  additional  military  expenditure,  of  £2,700,000,  Lowe 
proposed  to  meet  it  by  a  tax  on  matches,  an  increase  of  the 
succession  duties,  and  an  increase  of  10s.  8d.  per  cent, 
(slightly  over  1*4(1.  in  the  pound)  in  the  income  tax.  Rich 
and  poor  were  alike  disgusted.  Popular  discontent  com- 
pelled the  Government  incontinently  to  drop  the  match- 
tax;  the  Whigs  brought  pressure  to  bear  to  prevent  the  in- 
crease of  the  succession  duties;  and  finally  Gladstone  an- 
nounced that  Ministers  would  put  the  whole  burden  on  the 
income  tax,  which  would  be  increased  by  2d.  On  '  the 

1  Sumner   was  deposed  this  spring  from  the  chairmanship  of  the 
Committee  of  the  Senate  on  Foreign  Relations. 

2  The  Declaration  of  Paris  in  1856  about  maritime  war. 


sweet  simplicity '  of  this  proposal  Disraeli  was  justifiably 
severe,  and  in  many  felicitous  speeches  held  up  the  Budget, 
the  Chancellor  of  the  Exchequer,  and  the  Government,  to 
scorn  and  ridicule.  The  income  tax  was  essentially  an 
emergency  or  wax  tax;  it  was  monstrous,  when  your  pro- 
posed indirect  taxes  had  proved  unpopular,  to  fall  back  on 
direct  taxation  for  the  whole  amount  of  the  deficiency.  It 
was  equally  monstrous  to  charge  the  Opposition,  who  had 
the  support  of  only  one  newspaper  in  London,  with  '  hound- 
ing on  '  the  country,  and  to  attribute  to  their  machinations 
the  pecuniary  difficulties  in  which  the  Government  found 

The  mortality  among  Government  Bills  was  prodigious. 
Out  of  more  than  130,  the  chronicler  in  the  Annual  Register 
tells  us,  the  University  Tests  Bill  alone,  with  some  trifling 
exceptions,  passed  into  law  in  its  original  shape.  Two 
Bills  of  first-class  importance  —  Bruce's  Licensing  Bill  and 
Goschen's  Local  Government  Bill  —  proved  so  unpopular, 
the  one  in  the  boroughs,  the  other  in  the  counties,  that  they 
were  withdrawn  before  second  reading.  Confidence  in  the 
administration  of  the  navy  was  shaken  by  the  capsizing  of 
our  newest  battleship,  the  Captain,  and  in  that  of  the  army 
by  the  postponement  of  manoeuvres  owing  to  the  anticipa- 
tion of  rainy  weather!  Important  business  was  thrust 
aside  in  order  to  push  forward  a  Ballot  Bill,  to  which  Glad- 
stone was  a  very  recent  convert.  '  Why,'  asked  Disraeli,  '  is 
all  this  old  stuff  brought  before  us  ?  Only  because  the 
Prime  Minister  has  been  suddenly  converted  to  an  expiring 
faith,  and  has  passionately  embraced  a  corpse.'  It  was  all, 
he  said,  part  of  a  system,  the  object  of  which  was  to  oppress 
and  alarm  the  public  mind  by  constant  changes.  New  meth- 
ods of  Government,  new  principles  of  property,  every  sub- 
ject that  could  agitate  the  mind  of  nations,  had  been  brought 
forward  and  patronised  until  the  country,  anxious  and 
harassed,  knew  not  what  to  expect.  There  might  have  been 
a  plausible  case,  he  maintained,  for  the  ballot  in  the  past, 


in  the  days  of  Old  Sarum  and  Gatton.  But  now  that  the 
franchise  was  recognised  to  be  a  privilege  and  not  a  trust, 
it  was  a  retrograde  step  to  divorce  political  life  from  pub- 
licity. The  Bill,  obstructed  by  Conservative  free-lances  — 
Beresf ord  Hope,  James  Lowther,  and  the  Bentincks  —  in 
the  Commons,  was  defeated  in  the  Lords. 

The  principal  measure  of  the  session,  Cardwell's  Army 
Regulation  Bill,  was  indeed  passed  into  law  in  a  truncated 
form;  but  not  until  the  Prime  Minister,  irritated  by  a 
dilatory  resolution  in  the  Lords,  had  invoked  the  preroga- 
tive to  effect  the  main  alteration  proposed,  the  abolition  of 
the  system  by  which  officers  purchased  their  promotion. 
The  system  had  grown  up  under  Royal  Warrant,  and  the 
Queen  was  in  the  end  advised  to  terminate  it  by  Royal 
Warrant,  but  only  after  the  greater  part  of  the  session 
had  been  occupied  in  the  effort  to  terminate  it  by  the 
clauses  of  a  Bill.  So  far  as  Cardwell's  measure  was  cal- 
culated to  effect  a  reorganisation  of  all  our  military  forces, 
and  to  create  a  reserve  by  short  service,  Disraeli  supported 
it;  and  he  did  not  even  oppose  the  abolition  of  purchase; 
though  he  rather  doubted  whether  there  was  a  really  strong 
feeling  on  the  subject  in  the  country,  and  whether  a  system 
of  selection  would  give  us  the  officers  we  wanted.  But  he 
unhesitatingly  disapproved  the  coup  d'etat  by  which  Min- 
isters attained  their  object.  It  was  part  of  '  an  avowed  and 
shameful  conspiracy  against  the  privileges  '  of  the  House  of 
Lords.  He  did  not  dispute  the  prerogative  of  the  Crownj 
but  the  prerogative  should  not  be  used  to  cut  the  Gordian 
knots  that  have  to  be  encountered  in  dealing  with  popular 
assemblies.  '  No  Minister  acts  in  a  wise  manner  who,  find- 
ing himself  baffled  in  passing  a  measure,  .  .  .  comes  for- 
ward and  tells  the  House  that  he  will  defy  the  opinion  of 
Parliament,  and  appeals  to  the  prerogative  of  the  Crown 
to  assist  him  in  -the  difficulties  which  he  himself  has  created/ 
Public  opinion  supported  Disraeli  in  this  protest  against  the 
manner  in  which  an  otherwise  popular  reform  was  carried. 


To  Montagu  Corry. 

HUGHENDEN,  Sept.  17,  '71. — .  .  .  I  am  sorry  to  find  we  shall 
not  have  you  for  our  harvest  home,  which  is  on  the  26th.  Lan- 
cashire hangs  fire.  They  themselves  only  propose  the  end  of 
January,  or  the  first  week  in  February.  I  would  not,  under  any 
circumstances,  involve  myself  in  such  distant  engagements,  and 
I  am  still  very  doubtful,  whether  affairs  are  yet  ripe  enough 
for  the  move:  in  spite  of  Truro.1  I  have  answered  Lancashire 
in  your  name,  not  extinguishing  all  hope. 

We  have  never  left  Hughenden  for  a  moment.  Enjoying  a 
summer  of  unbroken  brilliancy:  Miladi  very  well  indeed.  .  .  . 

Meyer  de  Rothschild  continues  his  year  of  triumphs,2  and 
Bucks  is  proud  of  having  the  first  stable  in  the  country.  .  .  . 
Lord  Russell  is  going  abroad  for  a  year,  and  shall  not  return 
for  Parliament  '  unless,'  he  adds,  '  Mr.  Gladstone  attempts  to 
abolish  the  House  of  Lords.'  He  has  become  quite  deaf,  but 
my  informant  tells  me  most  agreeable  and  entertaining,  because, 
as  he  can  hear  no  one  talk,  he  never  ceases  to  talk  himself. 
But  when  he  is  exhausted,  he  is  bored,  and  you  must  go.  ... 

In  the  course  of  this  year,  1871,  as  Lord  Morley  tells  us, 
'  a  wave  of  critical  feeling  began  to  run  upon  the  throne.'  3 
The  seclusion  which  the  Queen  had  practised  since  the  death 
of  her  husband  was  not  unnaturally  resented  by  her  people ; 
and  her  Prime  Minister  repeatedly  pressed  her  to  increase 
the  number  of  her  public  appearances.  Neither  Minister 
nor  people  quite  realised  the  physical  weakness  which  at  this 
period  made  it  impossible  for  Her  Majesty  to  add,  to  the 
unceasing  and  laborious  duties  which  she  was  bound  to  per- 
form of  government  behind  the  scenes,  those  ceremonial  dis- 
plays which  make  much  more  demand  upon  the  strength 
than  can  be  easily  understood  by  private  individuals,  whose 
modest  position  exempts  them  from  the  tiring  experience. 
Disraeli  had  the  knowledge  and  insight  which  others  lacked ; 
and  he  took  the  opportunity  of  the  harvest  festival  at 
Hughenden  to  explain  what  the  state  of  the  Queen's  health 
was,  and  how  conscientiously  in  spite  of  weakness  she  car- 
ried on  the  most  material  part  of  her  work. 

i  The  Conservatives  won  a  seat  at  Truro  in  a  by-election  this  month. 
8  On  the  turf,  »  Glwtstone,  Bk.  VI.,  ch,  10, 

1871]       THE  QUEEN  AND  HER  PUBLIC  WORK          143 

The  health  of  the  Queen  has  for  several  years  been  a  subject 
of  anxiety  to  those  about  her,  but  it  is  only  within  the  last  year 
that  the  country  generally  has  become  acquainted  with  the 
gravity  of  that  condition.  I  believe  I  may  say  that  there  is 
some  improvement  in  Her  Majesty's  health,  but  I  fear  a  long 
time  must  elapse  before  it  will  reach  that  average  condition 
which  she  has  for  some  time  enjoyed,  and  I  do  not  think  we  can 
conceal  from  ourselves  that  a  still  longer  time  must  elapse  before 
Her  Majesty  will  be  able  to  resume  the  performance  of  those 
public  and  active  duties  which  it  was  once  her  pride  and  pleasure 
to  fulfil,  because  they  brought  her  into  constant  and  immediate 
contact  with  her  people.  The  fact  is  we  cannot  conceal  from 
ourselves  that  Her  Majesty  is  physically  incapacitated  from  per- 
forming those  duties,  but  it  is  some  consolation  to  Her  Majesty's 
subjects  to  know  that,  in  the  performance  of  those  much  higher 
duties  which  Her  Majesty  is  called  upon  to  perform  she  is  still 
remarkable  for  a  punctuality  and  a  precision  which  have  never 
been  surpassed,  and  rarely  equalled,  by  any  monarch  of  these 
realms.  ,• 

A  very  erroneous  impression  is  prevalent  respecting  the  duties 
of  the  Sovereign  of  this  country.  Those  duties  are  multifarious ; 
they  are  weighty,  and  they  are  unceasing.  I  will  venture  to 
say  that  no  head  of  any  department  in  the  State  performs  more 
laborious  duties  than  fall  to  the  Sovereign  of  this  country. 
There  is  not  a  despatch  received  from  abroad  nor  one  sent  from 
this  country  which  is  not  submitted  to  the  Queen.  The  whole 
internal  administration  of  this  country  greatly  depends  upon 
the  sign  manual ;  and  of  our  present  Sovereign  it  may  be  said  that 
her  signature  has  never  been  placed  to  any  public  document  of 
which  she  did  not  know  the  purport  and  of  which  she  did  not 
approve.  Those  Cabinet  Councils  of  which  you  all  hear,  and 
which  are  necessarily  the  scene  of  anxious  and  important  de- 
liberations, are  reported  and  communicated  on  their  termination 
by  the  Minister  to  the  Sovereign,  and  they  often  call  from  her 
critical  remarks,  necessarily  requiring  considerable  attention. 
And  I  will  venture  to  add  that  no  person  likely  to  administer 
the  affairs  of  this  country  would  treat  the  suggestions  of  Her 
Majesty  with  indifference,  for  at  this  moment  there  is  probably 
no  person  living  in  this  country  who  has  such  complete  control 
over  the  political  traditions  of  England  as  the  Sovereign  herself. 
!The  last  generation  of  statesmen  have  all,  or  almost  all,  dis- 
appeared: the  Sir  Robert  Peels,  the  Lord  Derbys,  the  Lord  Pal- 
merstons  have  gone;  and  there  is  no  person  who  can  advise  Her 
Majesty,  or  is  likely  to  advise  Her  Majesty  in  the  times  in  which 


we  live,  who  can  have  such  a  complete  mastery  of  what  has 
occurred  in  this  country,  and  of  all  the  great  and  important 
affairs  of  State,  foreign  and  domestic,  for  the  last  thirty-four 
years,  as  the  Queen  herself.  He,  therefore,  would  not  be  a  wise 
man  who  would  not  profit  by  Her  Majesty's  judgment  and  experi- 
ence. .  .  . 

I  would  venture,  in  conclusion,  to  remind  those  whom  I 
address  that,  although  Her  Majesty  may  be,  and  often  is,  of 
great  service  and  assistance  to  her  servants,  there  never  was  a 
more  Constitutional  Sovereign  than  our  present  Queen.  All 
who  have  served  her  would  admit  that,  when  Ministers  have 
been  selected  by  her  in  deference  to  what  she  believed  to  be  the 
highest  interests  of  the  State  in  the  opinion  of  •  the  country, 
she  gives  to  them  a  complete  confidence  and  undeviating  sup- 
port. But  although  there  never  was  a  Sovereign  who  would 
more  carefully  avoid  arrogating  to  herself  any  power  or  preroga- 
tive which  the  Constitution  does  not  authorise,  so  I  would  add 
there  never  was  a  Sovereign  more  jealous,  or  more  wisely  jeal- 
ous, of  the  prerogatives  which  the  Constitution  has  allotted  to 
her,  because  she  believes  they  are  for  the  welfare  of  her  people. 

The  effect  of  Disraeli's  words  was  unfortunately  marred 
by  a  slip  which  he  made  in  speaking  —  a  slip  which  party 
malice  magnified  and  distorted.  He  said  that  the  Queen 
was  '  physically  and  morally  incapacitated  '  from  perform- 
ing her  duties  of  ceremonial  and  pageant.  It  was  not  a 
happy  phrase  and  he  immediately  recalled  it;  but  it  gave 
no  real  foundation  for  the  legend  that  was  promptly  cir- 
culated, to  the  effect  that  the  Opposition  leader  had  declared 
the  Queen  to  be  mentally  incapacitated  for  her  work. 
Even  the  Queen  herself  was  disturbed,  and  Disraeli  had 
to  explain. 

To  Sir  William  [Jenner].1 

[Oct.,  1871.] — .  .  .  I  need  not  assure  you  that  the  epithet 
moral  involves  'mental  no  more  than  the  epithet  physical  does. 
What  I  meant  to  convey  was  that  neither  Her  Majesty's  frame 
nor  feelings  could  at  present  bear  the  strain  and  burthen  of  the 
pageantry  of  State. 

i  The  letter  is  printed  from  a  draft,  but  it  is  fairly  clear  that  Jen- 
ner,  Her  Majesty's  physician,  is  the  '  Sir  William '  to  whom  it  was 


After  I  had  used  the  word  it  was  suggested  to  me  that  it 
might  be  misinterpreted  by  the  simple,  and  I  requested  the  re- 
porters to  omit  it.  I  understood  they  willingly  agreed  to  do 
so;  but  it  seems  the  Daily  Telegraph  could  not  resist  the  oppor- 
tunity of  attempting  a  sensation. 

The  whole  Press  of  authority,  Times,  Post  Standard,  Pall 
Mall,  Daily  News,  Spectator,  Saturday  Review,  Echo,  have  de- 
nounced, or  utterly  disregarded,  the  interpretation  of  the  Tele- 
graph, which  the  country  have  not  accepted  and  have  felt  to  be 
quite  inconsistent  with  the  whole  tenor  of  my  observations. 

I  need  not  say  how  deeply  I  regret  that  any  expression  of  mine 
should  have  occasioned  pain  to  Her  Majesty,  especially  when  my 
only  object  in  speaking  was  an  humble  endeavor  to  assist  the 
Queen.  .  .  . 

A  selection  from  Disraeli's  letters  throws  some  light  on 
his  interests  during  the  autumn  and  winter  of  this  year 
1871,  the  later  weeks  of  which  were  a  period  of  acute  anxi- 
ety to  the  people  of  this  country,  owing  to  the  dangerous 
illness  of  the  Prince  of  Wales  from  typhoid  fever. 

To  the  Duke  of  Wellington. 

f?  Oct.,  1871.]' — .  .  .  I  was  detained  in  town  for  three  days 
with  my  time  greatly  to  myself,  and  I  spent  it  in  examining 
and  then  partly  perusing  these  3  volumes  [of  the  Wellington 
Despatches  and  Memoranda]  —  with  such  keen  interest,  with 
so  much  delight,  I  may  say,  that  I  cannot  refrain  from  express- 
ing to  you  however  imperfectly  my  sense  of  their  inestimable 
value.  They  form  out-and-out  much  the  most  interesting  politi- 
cal book  that  has  been  published  in  this  century.  Indeed  I 
know  of  no  memoirs  of  a  great  leading  character,  either  in  civil 
or  military  life,  in  any  age  or  language,  that  I  can  place  above 
them.  The  importance  of  the  subjects  treated,  their  immense 
variety,  the  striking  events,  the  marked  and  historic  character 
of  the  correspondents,  the  towering  greatness  of  the  chief  actor, 
make  a  whole,  so  far  as  my  knowledge  can  guide  me,  unrivalled. 

It  would  be  useless  to  select  portions  or  passages,  yet  if  I  had 
to  name  a  composition  which,  alike  in  conception  and  execution, 
may  vie  with  anything  in  classic  pages,  it  is  the  letter  of  the 
Duke  recommending  the  appointment  of  Mr.  Canning  to  the 
King.  Nothing  more  noble  and  nothing  more  skilful  was  ever 
penned  by  man,  and  one  feels,  as  one  reads  it,  that  it  must  have 
raised  and  re-established,  at  least  for  the  moment,  the  lax  and 


shattered  moral  tone  of  the  individual  to  whom  it  "was  addressed. 

All  about  Canning  subsequently,  all  about  poor  Castlereagh's 
sad  and  I  fear  disgraceful  end,  are  most  dramatic.  That  is  the 
character  of  the  volumes.  They  are  full  of  life,  and  stirring 
life.  The  papers  on  the  campaign,  on  the  state  of  Spain  and 
so  on,  all  beyond  praise. 

The  effect  of  reading  these  volumes  on  me  is  this:  that  al- 
though my  time  for  the  past  is  now  very  limited,  I  shall  certainly 
read  the  whole  of  your  great  father's  works:  a  volume  will 
always  be  at  hand  when  I  have  time  to  recur  to  what  has  gone 
before  us. 

The  country  owes  you  a  debt  of  gratitude  not  easily  to  be 
repaid  for  the  publication  of  this  book. 

To  Lord  Henry  Lennox. 

GROSVENOR  GATE,  Nov.  3,  '71. —  I  thought  your  speech  thor- 
oughly capital:  out-and-out,  the  star  of  the  recess.  I  have  not 
read  Gladstone's.1  I  tried,  but  I  could  not  get  on  with  it:  not 
a  ray  of  intellect  or  a  gleam  of  eloquence.  They  tell  me  that, 
if  I  had  persevered,  I  should  have  been  repaid,  by  encountering 
a  quotation  from  the  Hyde  Park  Litany;  either  a  burlesque  of 
the  Athanasian  Creed  or  of  the  National  Anthem;  equally  ap- 
propriate in  the  mouth  of  our  most  religious  and  loyal  ruler.  .  .  . 

To  Montagu  Corry. 

HUGHENDEN,  Dec.  4,  '71. — .  .  .  Our  camp  is  struck,  and,  prob- 
ably in  8  and  40  hours,  we  shall  be  settled  permanently  at  G.G. 
The  stable  goes  up  to-morrow.  The  severe  and  savage  weather, 
that  prevents  all  outdoor  employment,  quite  sickened  my  lady, 
who  had  trusted  to  planting  and  marking  trees  to  amuse  her. 
Now  she  sighs  for  Park  Lane,  and  twilight  talk  and  tea.  The 
Canford  party  rather  precipitated  her  resolve,  but  the  prospect 
even  of  that  being  put  off  will  not  now  change  affairs  here.  .  .  . 

We  have  received  telegrams  from  Sandringham  every  morn- 
ing, and  generally  speaking  Francis  Knollys 2  has  written  by 
post  with  details  which  telegrams  cannot  convey.  Our  telegram 
this  morning  the  most  favorable  we  have  yet  received,  and  the 
second  post,  which  brought  your  letter,  brought  also  one  from 
F.  K 

1  Gladstone's  famous  speech  of  two  hours  in  the  open  air  at  Black- 
heath,  in  the  course  of  which  he  quoted,  with  approval,  from  a  re- 
publican   and   secularist   book   of   poems,   a   parody   of   the  National 

2  Private  Secretary  to  the  Prince  of  Wales,  and  subsequently  to  King 
Edward  and  King  George;  now  Viscount  Knollys. 


They  are  still  very  nervous  at  Sandringham,  and  very  cautious 
in  their  language,  but  it  is  evident  to  me,  that  they  think  they 
have  turned  the  corner.  .  .  . 

To  Gathorne  Hardy. 

GROSVENOR  GATE,  Dec.  23,  1871. —  I  had  seen  Noel1  before 
I  received  your  letter,  and  had  given  him  the  same  answer  as 
you  had  done.  Great  wits,  etc. 

The  proposition  is  absurd.  We  cannot  modify  the  position 
we  have  taken  up  on  the  Ballot,  tho'  many  of  our  friends  may 
wish  to  do  so.  It  wd.  break  up  the  party,  which  is  in  a  toler- 
ably robust  state  at  present. 

What  we  shd.  do,  is  to  get  the  Bill  thro'  our  House  with  as 
much  promptitude  as  decency  permits.  The  Govt.  wd.  like  to 
keep  it  there  and  distract  attention  from  other  matters.  Our 
policy  is  the  reverse. 

There  must  be  a  discussion  on  the  principle,  but  it  need  not 
be  a  prolonged  one,  and,  in  Comm[itt]ee,  we  shd.  confine  our- 
selves to  ~bona  fide  improvements  of  its  machinery,  wh.  may  be 
the  foundation,  if  fortune  favored  us,  of  a  future  compromise. 

We  are  here  rather  unexpectedly,  having  been  stopped  in  our 
progress  to  country  houses  by  the  impending  calamity,  and  being 
too  anxious  to  return  to  Hughenden;  and  now,  in  a  few  days, 
we  shall  have  to  fulfil  some  of  these  engagements,  so  I  don't 
think  we  shall  return  to  Bucks.  .  .  . 

i  One  of  the  Whips. 




In  1869  Disraeli  had  some  real  leisure,  for  the  first  time 
for  many  years.  When  he  led  the  Opposition  against  Rus- 
sell, Aberdeen,  and  Palmerston,  it  had  been  in  Parliaments 
where  parties  were  fairly  balanced,  and  a  change  of  Gov- 
ernment was  always  a  possibility.  In  these  circumstances 
the  labours  of  leadership  were  nearly  as  onerous  in  opposi- 
tion as  in  office.  But,  with  the  large  and  compact  majority 
of  1868,  Gladstone's  Government  was  for  the  time  im- 
pregnable; and  Disraeli's  mind  therefore  naturally  turned 
to  his  early  love,  literature.  It  was  more  than  twenty 
years  since  the  publication  of  his  last  novel,  Tancred,  in 
March,  1847 ;  it  was  nearly  twenty  years  since  his  last  book, 
Lord  George  Bentinck,  in  December,  1851 ;  it  was  more 
than  a  dozen  years  since  he  had  ceased  active  journalism 
in  the  Press,  in  February,  1856.  Tancred  and  Lord  George 
Bentinck  and  the  articles  in  the  Press  had  still  breathed, 
though  not  to  the  extent  of  his  earlier  political  writing,  the 
spirit  of  combat  and  propaganda;  they  had  been  the  work 
of  one  who,  though  he  had  risen  high,  was  still  fighting  for 
his  ideas  and  for  his  place.  Now  he  had  arrived ;  he  had 
carried  a  great  historical  measure ;  he  had  held  the  highest 
position  under  the  Crown ;  his  ambition  was  largely  satis- 
fied; and  when  he  began  to  write  again,  in  his  sixty-fifth 
year,  it  was  in  a  somewhat  different  vein.  He  surveyed 
the  great  world  of  his  day,  now  intimately  known  by  him, 
and  he  drew  a  picture  of  aristocratic  and  political  society, 
and  of  the  ideas  animating  it,  together  with  the  currents 


1869-1870]     FIRSTFRUITS  OF  RESIGNATION  149 

of  thought  and  action  which  were  moulding  the  history  of 
Europe.  Like  the  great  trilogy  of  Coningsby,  Sybil,  and 
Tancred,  Lothair  was  a  political  novel,  and  a  political  novel 
dealing  with  the  events  of  the  day;  unlike  them,  its  un- 
derlying purpose  seems  to  have  been  subordinated  to  a 
desire  to  mirror  and  satirise  the  passing  show.  Unlike 
them,  too,  it  observes  a  reticence,  becoming  in  an  ex-Premier, 
with  regard  to  the  leading  figures  in  the  political  arena  and 
to  the  immediate  subjects  of  acute  political  dissension. 

Different  as  it  was  from  the  trilogy  in  its  outlook,  it  was 
different  also  in  the  secrecy  in  which  it  was  conceived 
and  written.  1 1  make  it  a  rule  never  to  breathe  a  word  on 
such  matters  to  anyone,'  Disraeli  told  a  literary  friend  in 
1872.  '  My  private  secretary,  Mr.  Montagu  Corry,  who 
possesses  my  entire  confidence  in  political  matters,  who  opens 
all  my  letters,  and  enters  my  cabinet  and  deals,  as  he  likes, 
with  all  my  papers  in  my  absence,  never  knew  anything 
about  Lothair  until  he  read  the  advertisement  in  the 
journals.'  This  was  a  new  practice  for  Disraeli,  as  in  re- 
gard to  the  trilogy  and  to  Lord  George  Beniinck  he  made 
confidences  about  his  progress  from  time  to  time  to  his 
sister,  and  to  his  close  friends  such  as  Manners,  Smythe,  and 
Lady  Londonderry.  No  such  sources  of  information  are 
available  in  regard  to  the  composition  of  Lothair.  But 
the  incident  which  suggested  the  main  action  of  the  story, 
the  reception  of  the  third  Marquis  of  Bute  into  the  Church 
of  Rome,  only  took  place  on  Christmas  Eve,  1868.  Disraeli 
had  then  just  resigned  office;  and  we  may  therefore  con- 
fidently look  upon  the  book  as  the  firstfruits  of  his  retire- 
ment. The  stimulus  to  write  it  may  well  have  been  pro- 
vided by  the  offer  of  £10,000  for  a  novel,  which  was  made 
to  him  by  a  publisher  immediately  on  his  resignation,  but 
declined  with  thanks.  The  book  was  finished  in  the  spring 
of  1870.  The  arrangement  with  Longmans  for  its  pub- 
lication was  made  in  February  of  that  year,  and  it  appeared 
at  the  beginning  of  May. 

The  story  of  Lothair  covers  almost  exactly  the  period  of 

150  LOTHAIR  [CHAP,  iv 

Disraeli's  third  tenure  of  office ;  it  is  all  comprised  between 
the  August  of  1866  and  the  August  of  1868;  and  yet, 
though  a  great  number  of  his  English  characters  are  more 
or  less  politicians,  there  is  no  reference  to  the  Reform  strug- 
gles or  to  the  passage  of  the  Reform  Bill,  or  (save  as  a  mat- 
ter involving  urgent  whips)  to  the  debates  on  the  Irish 
Church;  nor  is  there  any  personal  allusion  to  the  Prime 
Ministers  of  the  time,  first  Derby  and  then  Disraeli  him- 
self. The  political  and  social  movements,  the  intellectual 
and  spiritual  problems,  which  form  the  background  of 
Disraeli's  story,  had  in  truth  little  relation  with  actual  pro- 
ceedings in  Westminster  Palace.  Secret  societies  and  their 
international  energies,  the  Church  of  Rome  and  her  claims 
and  methods,  the  eternal  conflict  between  science  and  faith : 
these  are  the  forces  shown  to  be  at  work  beneath  the  surface 
of  that  splendid  pageant  of  English  aristocracy  in  which 
most  of  Disraeli's  characters  move,  and  which  he  never 
described  with  more  brilliance  and  gusto  than  in  Lothair. 
So  brilliant  is  that  description  that  Froude  even  asks  us  to 
see  the  true  value  of  the  book  in  its  perfect  representation 
of  patrician  society  in  England  flourishing  in  its  fullest 
bloom,  but,  like  a  flower,  opening  fully  only  to  fade. 

The  plot  is  simple.  The  hero,  one  of  those  fortunate 
beings  whom  he  loved  to  paint,  an  orphan  peer  —  apparently 
a  marquis  —  of  fabulous  wealth,  brought  up  and  educated 
quietly  in  Presbyterian  fashion  in  Scotland,  is  thrown,  as 
he  reaches  adolescence,  fresh  upon  the  world,  first  of  Oxford, 
and  then  of  London  and  the  great  country  houses.  The 
priggishness  born  of  his  early  education  leads  him  at  the 
outset  to  say,  (  My  opinions  are  already  formed  on  every 
subject;  that  is  to  say,  every  subject  of  importance;  and, 
what  is  more,  they  will  never  change.'  But  he  is  in  reality 
very  impressionable,  and  anxious  to  discover,  like  Tancred, 
what  he  ought  to  do  and  what  he  ought  to  believe.  All  the 
influences  and  all  the  teachers  of  the  day  are  naturally  con- 
centrated upon  one  whose  adhesion  might  be  expected  so  ma- 
terially to  benefit  any  cause  which  he  espoused.  The  main 

1870]  THREE  FORCES  —  THREE  WOMEN  151 

struggle  is  between  three  forces,  represented  by  three  women, 
with  all  of  whom  Lothair  falls  successively  in  love.  These 
forces  are,  first,  the  Church  of  Rome ;  secondly,  the  interna- 
tional revolution  and  what  may  be  called  free  religion ;  and 
thirdly,  the  Church  of  England  and  the  round  of  duties 
and  occupations  natural  to  Lothair's  birth  and  station. 
Clare  Arundel,  the  representative  of  the  first  force,  is  an 
attractive  and  ardent  saint;  Theodora  Campian,  the  repre- 
sentative of  the  second  force,  has  great  personal  charm,  lofty 
character,  and  high  purpose.  But  Theodora  dies  and  Clare 
enters  a  convent;  and  the  victory  is  won  in  the  end  by  the 
Lady  Corisande,  the  representative  of  the  third  force,  whose 
principles  are  indeed  immaculate  but  who  is  a  somewhat 
uninteresting  heroine.  The  action  takes  place  mainly  in 
London  and  in  three  English  country  houses ;  but  the  autumn 
and  winter  of  1867  are  occupied  with  Lothair's  experiences 
in  Rome  and  the  neighbourhood;  and  the  spring  of  1868 
finds  him  in  those  scenes  of  the  Mediterranean  and  the 
Holy  Land  which  Disraeli  visited  as  a  young  man  and 
afterwards  lovingly  reproduced  in  so  many  of  his 

Nothing  in  the  book  is  more  carefully  drawn  or  more 
delicately  finished  than  the  chapters  which  deal  with  the 
Roman  Catholic  group  of  priests  and  laymen  who  conspire 
—  the  word  is  hardly  too  strong  —  to  entrap  Lothair  into 
the  Roman  Church.  The  old  Catholic  English  family  — 
Lord  St.  Jerome,  devout  and  easy  in  his  temper,  but  an 
English  gentleman  to  the  backbone,  who  gave  at  his  ball 
suppers  the  same  champagne  that  he  gave  at  his  dinners; 
Lady  St.  Jerome,  an  enthusiastic  convert,  '  a  woman  to  in- 
spire crusaders,'  who  received  Lothair  at  a  party  l  with 
extreme  unction  ' ;  and  their  beautiful  niece,  Clare  Arundel, 
who  could  only  be  weaned  from  the  convent  in  which  her 
hopes  had  centred  by  the  vision  of  attracting  Lothair  through 
marriage  into  the  true  fold :  and  then  the  priests  —  Father 
Coleman,  whose  devotion  to  gardening  masked  his  skill  as  a 
controversialist;  Monsignore  Catesby,  the  aristocratic  and 

152  LOTHAIR  '  [CHAP,  iv 

fashionable  missionary  of  the  Church  to  convert  the  upper 
classes;  Monsignore  Berwick,  the  priest  as  statesman,  the 
favourite  pupil  of  Antonelli;  and  Cardinal  Grandison,  a 
wonderful  study  of  asceticism,  devotion,  high  breeding,  tact, 
delicacy,  and  unscrupulousness,  whose  appearance  and  man- 
ner were  copied  from  Manning,  though  some  of  his  mental 
and  moral  characteristics  may  be  referred  to  Wiseman. 
'  It  seemed  that  the  soul  never  had  so  frail  and  fragile  a 
tenement '  as  his  attenuated  form ;  *  I  never  eat  and  I  never 
drink,'  he  said  in  refusing  an  invitation  to  dinner.  One 
marked  feature  in  his  character  was  that  he  was  '  an  entire 
believer  in  female  influence,  and  a  considerable  believer  in 
his  influence  over  females.' 

Disraeli  was  at  once  attracted  and  repelled  by  Rome. 
Her  historical  tradition  and  her  sensuous  and  ceremonial 
worship  appealed  strongly  to  one  side  of  his  nature;  but 
he  was  even  more  keenly  alive  to  the  bondage  which  she 
imposed  upon  the  spirit  of  man,  and  he  had  been  of  late 
particularly  impressed  by  the  stealthy  and  indirect  meth- 
ods which  her  propaganda  in  England  had  assumed.  He 
had  had  a  personal  experience  of  a  disagreeable  but  reveal- 
ing character  in  the  '  stab  in  the  back  '  which  Manning  and 
the  Roman  party  had  given  him  over  the  question  of  Uni- 
versity education.  Both  the  attraction  and  the  repulsion 
are  brought  out  in  Lothair.  The  description  of  the  service 
of  Tenebrce  in  Holy  Week  at  Vauxe,  the  St.  Jeromes' 
country  house,  is  such  as  to  satisfy  the  emotions  of  a  devout 
Roman  Catholic;  the  St.  Jerome  family  life  and  Clare's 
aspirations  are  sympathetically  treated;  and  there  is  no 
lack  of  appreciation  of  the  enormous  support  the  Roman 
Church  affords  to  that  religious  element  in  man  which  he 
held  it  to  be  essential  to  foster. 

On  the  other  hand,  a  large  portion  of  the  book  is  occupied 
by  a  merciless  dissection  of  the  various  arts  employed  by 
Cardinals  and  Monsignori  to  entangle  Lothair  so  deeply  in 
the  meshes  of  Roman  influence  that  conversion  might  ap- 
pear to  him  to  be  the  only  honourable  outcome.  Begun  in 

1870]        THE  ROMAN  CHURCH  AND  LOTHAIR  153 

London  and  at  Vauxe,  continued  during  the  coming-of-age 
festivities  at  Muriel  Towers,  and  brought  to  a  climax  at 
Rome  after  the  battle  of  Mentana,  these  machinations  were 
so  cleverly  contrived  that  their  object  was  within  an  ace  of 
accomplishment.  Moved  by  the  overpowering  personality 
of  Theodora,  Lothair  had  temporarily  thrown  off  their 
trammels,  and  had  even  ranged  himself  by  Garibaldi's  side 
in  the  advance  on  Rome  in  the  autumn  of  1867.  The 


return  of  the  French  garrison  had  wrecked  the  hopes  of  the 
enterprise;  Theodora  was  killed;  and  Lothair  himself  fell, 
badly  wounded,  at  Mentana.  A  kindly  Italian  peasant 
woman  of  handsome  mien  brought  news  of  his  plight  to 
Clare  Arundel,  who  was  in  Rome  for  the  winter  and  occu- 
pied in  caring  for  the  faithful  wounded.  She  found  him 
all  unconscious  in  a  hospital  and  nursed  him  back  to  life. 
During  his  illness  a  pious  legend  was  evolved ;  the  peasant 
woman  was  discovered  to  be  the  Virgin  Mary,  recognised 
as  such  by  the  halo  round  her  head;  and  it  was  claimed 
that  Lothair  had  been  fighting,  when  he  fell,  on  behalf  of 
the  Pope  instead  of  against  him.  He  was  induced  in  his 
weak  state  to  support  Clare  in  an  ecclesiastical  function 
which  he  believed  to  be  merely  one  of  thanksgiving  for 
recovery,  but  which  the  official  Papal  journal  treated  as  a 
solemn  recognition  on  his  part  of  the  special  favour  shown 
by  the  Mother  of  God  to  her  chivalrous  defender.  The 
mendacities  of  the  official  account  drove  Lothair,  still  suf- 
fering, and  almost  a  prisoner  of  the  Church  in  a  Roman 
palace,  to  a  mixture  of  indignation  and  despair;  but  he 
thought  he  might  rely  on  Cardinal  Grandison  as  an  English 
gentleman  and  a  man  of  honour  to  put  the  matter  right.  He 
was  mistaken;  and  the  description  of  the  conversation  be- 
tween the  two  is  inimitable. 

To  Lothair's  protestations  against  l  a  tissue  of  falsehood 
and  imposture/  the  Cardinal  opposed  confidence  in  an 
f  official  journal '  drawn  up  by  '  truly  pious  men.'  It  was, 
he  said,  the  '  authentic '  story  of  what  happened  at  Mentana ; 
Lothair's  own  statement,  he  airily  suggested,  had  neither 

154  LOTHAIE  [CHAP,  iv 

confirmation  nor  probability ;  '  you  have  been  very  ill,  my 
dear  young  friend,  and  labouring  under  much  excitement.' 
Such  hallucinations  were  not  uncommon,  and  would  wear  off 
with  returning  health. 

King  George  IV.  believed  that  he  was  at  the  Battle  of  Water- 
loo, and  indeed  commanded  there;  and  his  friends  were  at  one 
time  a  little  alarmed;  but  Knighton,  who  was  a  sensible  man, 
said,  '  His  Majesty  has  only  to  leave  off  curagao,  and  rest  assured 
he  will  gain  no  more  victories.' 

Lothair  must  remember,  the  Cardinal  continued,  that  he 
was  in  the  centre  of  Christendom,  the  abode  of  truth. 
'  Divine  authority  has  perused  this  paper  and  approved 
it.  ...  It  records  the  most  memorable  event  of  the  cen- 
tury.' The  appearance  of  the  Virgin  in  Rome  had  given 
the  deathblow  to  atheism  and  the  secret  societies;  Lothair 
must  return  to  England  and  reconquer  it  for  Rome.  The 
eye  of  Christendom  was  upon  him.  He  might  be  bewildered 
like  St.  Thomas,  but  like  him  he  would  become  an  apostle. 
The  Holy  Father  would  personally  receive  him  next  day 
into  the  bosom  of  the  Church. 

In  spite  of  all  the  Cardinal's  arts,  a  vision  of  Theodora 
at  night  in  the  Coliseum  —  Disraeli  was  partial  to  visions 
as  a  melodramatic  resource  —  saved  Lothair  from  the 
priests ;  and  the  Cardinal,  when  he  met  him  afterwards  in 
London,  affected  complete  unconsciousness  as  to  the  in- 
trigue in  Rome,  and  even  suggested  to  him  that  he  should 
attend  the  approaching  Ecumenical  Council  as  an  Ang- 
lican ! 

The  revolutionary  characters  in  Lothair  are  almost  as 
closely  studied,  in  themselves,  and  in  their  setting,  as  the 
Roman.  With  the  Revolution  as  with  Rome  Disraeli,  who 
claimed  once  that  he  had  a  revolutionary  mind,  had  a  cer- 
tain sympathy,  which,  though  it  did  not  blind  him  to  the 
impossible  nature  of  the  creed,  enabled  him  to  understand 
it.  Theodora  herself  is  certainly  his  most  elaborately  con- 
ceived heroine.  Seen  by  Lothair  first  at  an  evening  party, 

1870]  THEODOKA  155 

her  face  is  thus  described :  '  It  was  the  face  of  a  matron, 
apparently  of  not  many  summers,  for  her  shapely  figure  was 
still  slender,  though  her  mien  was  stately.  .  .  .  The  coun- 
tenance .  .  .  pale,  but  perfectly  Attic  in  outline,  with  the 
short  upper  lip  and  the  round  chin,  and  a  profusion  of 
dark  chestnut  hair  bound  by  a  Grecian  fillet,  and  on  her 
brow  a  star.'  She  had  sat  for  the  head  of  '  La  Republique 
Franchise '  in  1850,  as  a  girl  of  seventeen,  and  was  there- 
fore well  over  thirty  when  she  met  Lothair  in  the  autumn 
of  1866.  She  was  the  wife  of  an  American  Colonel,  with 
a  villa  at  Putney.  An  Italian  by  birth,  she  was  an  ardent 
sympathiser  with  movements  for  freedom  throughout  the 
world ;  but  for  the  unity  of  her  native  country  and  the  de- 
struction of  Papal  government  in  Rome  she  was  prepared 
to  give  her  life.  Dr.  Garnett  has  happily  observed  that 
'  she  impersonates  all  the  traits  which  Shelley  especially 
valued  in  woman,'  and  that  she  was  also  her  creator's  ideal. 
f  There  is  not  a  single  touch  of  satire  in  the  portrait ;  it 
plainly  represents  the  artist's  highest  conception  of  woman.' 
A  hater  of  priests  and  priestcraft,  Theodora  is  yet  strongly 
religious  in  her  idealistic  way.  Orthodoxy,  she  holds,  has 
very  little  to  do  with  religion ;  '  I  worship,'  she  tells  Lothair, 
'  in  a  church  where  I  believe  God  dwells,  and  dwells  for 
my  guidance  and  my  good :  my  conscience.'  The  romantic 
adoration,  free  from  all  sensual  taint,  with  which  she  in- 
spires Lothair  is  drawn  with  great  delicacy.  Indeed  '  the 
exquisite  and  even  sublime  friendship,  which  had  so  strongly 
and  beautifully  arisen,  like  a  palace  in  a  dream,  and  ab- 
sorbed his  being,'  was  a  sentiment  of  which  the  author  was 
himself  capable,  at  all  stages  of  his  life. 

As  Theodora  represents  the  ideal  side  of  the  revolu- 
tionary movement,  so  Captain  Bruges  embodies  the  prac- 
tical side.  His  career  corresponds  to,  and  may  have  been 
copied  from,  that  of  General  Cluseret,  the  military  com- 
mander who  was  so  prominent  in  the  Paris  Commune. 
Bruges's  common  sense  and  resolution  shine  amid  the  mouth- 
ings  of  the  revolutionary  council  in  Soho  and  the  turmoil  of 

156  LOTHAIE  [CHAP,  iv 

the  Fenian  meeting  in  Hoxton;  and  when  he  takes  com- 
mand of  the  camp  in  the  Apennines  he  appears  as  a  true 
leader  of  men,  bold,  wary,  and  unscrupulous.  His  mis- 
sion is  to  be  the  sword-arm  of  the  secret  societies,  Mary 
Anne  of  France  and  Madre  Natura  of  Italy. 

From  a  very  early  date,  Disraeli  had  been  deeply  im- 
pres_sed  by  the  widespread  activities  of  the  secret  societies 
in  Europe.  He  drew  special  attention  to  the  danger  in 
Lord  George  BentincTc  and  in  his  speeches  in  the  House 
of  Commons  on  the  Italian  question.  During  his  recent 
term  of  office,  Irish  and  Irish-American  Fenianism  had  to 
be  met  and  defeated ;  and  the  information  that  then  poured 
in  upon  the  Government  confirmed  and  extended  his  previous 
knowledge  of  revolutionary  conspiracies.  Of  all  this  he 
made  full  use  in  Lothair.  Reviewers  accused  him  of  gross 
exaggeration,  of  conjuring  up  imaginary  perils ;  Mary  Anne, 
though  referred  to  in  the  protocols  of  Paris  in  1856,  was 
treated  as  a  bogey.  But  within  a  year  the  outbreak  of 
the  Paris  Commune,  with  its  revelation  of  the  malign  work- 
ings of  the  International  Society,  showed  how  thoroughly 
well  justified  were  the  apprehensions  of  Disraeli's  Mon- 
signori  and  diplomatists,  and  the  boasts  of  his  revolution- 
aries. Catesby  says  of  the  secret  societies :  l  They  have 
declared  war  against  the  Church,  the  State,  and  the  domestic 
principle.  All  the  great  truths  and  laws  on  which  the  fam- 
ily reposes  are  denounced.  Their  religion  is  the  religion 
of  science.'  The  French  Ambassador  declares  that  the  Mary 
Anne  associations  in  France  were  all  alive  and  astir. 
'  Mary  Anne,'  he  explains,  '  was  the  real  name  for  the  Re- 
public years  ago,  and  there  always  was  a  sort  of  myth  that 
these  societies  had  been  founded  by  a  woman.  .  .  .  The 
word  has  gone  out  to  all  these  societies  that  Mary  Anne  has 
returned,  and  will  issue  her  orders,  which  must  be  obeyed.' 
And  Bruges,  the  revolutionary  general,  confirms  the  rep- 
resentatives of  authority.  '  There  are  more  secret  socie- 
ties at  this  moment  than  at  any  period  since  '85,  though  you 
hear  nothing  of  them  j  and  they  believe  in  Mary  Anne,  and 

1870]  LORD  BUTE  AND  LOTHATR  157 

in  nothing  else.'  He  anticipates,  moreover,  and  defends 
the  policy  of  arson  which  the  Commune  employed,  to  the 
world's  horror,  in  Paris  in  the  spring  of  1871.  He  is 
speaking  of  Rome.  '  Those  priests !  I  fluttered  them  once. 
Why  did  I  spare  any?  Why  did  I  not  burn  down  St. 
Peter's  ?  I  proposed  it.'  There  was  something  to  be  said 
for  Monsignore  Berwick's  ejaculation:  t  It  is  the  Church 
against  the  secret  societies.  They  are  the  only  two  strong 
things  in  Europe,  and  will  survive  kings,  emperors,  or  par- 

When  Disraeli  dealt  with  his  third  set  of  influences, 
those  springing  from  English  society  and  the  Anglican 
Communion,  he  painted  with  some  boldness  from  people  he 
knew  and  personal  and  family  circumstances  which  had 
come  directly  under  his  observation.  The  plot  was  sug- 
gested by  Lord  Bute's  recent  conversion  to  Rome ;  and  Bute's 
history  was  faithfully  followed  in  Lothair's  vast  fortune  and 
long  minority,  in  his  elaborate  coming-of-age  festivities,  in 
his  relations  with  Monsignore  Capel  (called  in  the  book 
Catesby,  but  '  Capel '  appeared  by  a  slip  in  one  passage  in 
the  original  issue),  and  even  in  the  ducal  family  where 
he  went  to  seek  a  bride.  But  Lothair  was  not  received  into 
the  Church  of  Rome,  and  Bute  in  the  end  married  a  lady  who 
was  not  a  daughter  of  '  the  duke '  of  the  novel.  Nor  did 
Lothair  resemble  Bute  in  appearance,  character,  or  tastes. 
Indeed  Lothair  is  given  so  little  character,  save  that  of 
general  candour,  openness,  and  desire  to  do  right,  coupled 
with  a  trifle  of  priggishness,  that  Sir  Leslie  Stephen  is  al- 
most justified  in  his  remark  that  c  Lothair  reduces  himself 
so  completely  to  a  mere  "  passive  bucket  "  to  be  pumped  into 
by  every  variety  of  teacher,  that  he  is  unpleasantly  like  a 

If  the  hero's  circumstances  almost  directly  reproduced 
Bute's,  there  is  a  still  closer  resemblance  between  '  the 
duke '  of  Lothair  and  his  family,  and  a  duke  and  his  fam- 
ily who  were  numbered  among  Disraeli's  friends.  l  Lord 
Abercorn  has  thirteen  children/  wrote  Disraeli  in  1863  to 

158  LOTHAIK  [CHAP,  iv 

Mrs.  Willyams  after  meeting  the  Abercorns  at  Hatfield; 
'  and  looks  as  young  as  his  son  who  is  an  M.P.  .  .  .  His 
daughters  are  so  singularly  pretty  that  they  always  marry 
during  their  first  season,  and  always  make  the  most  splen- 
did matches.'  So  of  the  ducal  family  described  in  the 
early  pages  of  Lothair  we  are  told  that  the  sons  and  daughters 
reproduced  the  appearance  and  character  of  their  parents, 
and  the  daughters  '  all  met  the  same  fate.  After  seven- 
teen years  of  a  delicious  home,  they  were  presented  and  im- 
mediately married.'  The  Duke  of  Abercorn,  who  obtained 
his  dukedom  on  Disraeli's  recommendation,  was  one  of  the 
handsomest  men  of  the  day ;  and  society  enjoyed  the  gentle 
raillery  which  wrote  of  '  the  duke  ' :  '  Every  day  when  he 
looked  into  the  glass,  and  gave  the  last  touch  to  his  consum- 
mate toilette,1  he  offered  his  grateful  thanks  to  Providence 
that  his  family  was  not  unworthy  of  him.'  That  the  fam- 
ily so  graciously  characterised  by  Disraeli  was  not  unworthy 
has  since  been  abundantly  shown  by  the  distinguished  place 
its  members  have  occupied  in  the  political  and  social  world. 
But  Disraeli  has  dowered  the  dukedom  of  Abercorn  with 
all,  and  more  than  all,  the  then  possessions  of  that  of 
Sutherland.  Brent-ham  must  be  Trentham,  and  Crecy 
House  in  London  Stafford  House. 

From  Montagu  Corry. 

ADMIRALTY,  Sept.  22,  1868. — .  .  .  He  (Lord  Bute)  is  going 
to  Baronscourt  next  month,  it  is  evident  rather  as  a  claimant 
of  his  bride  than  as  a  suitor.  Evidently  the  whole  matter  is 
already  arranged.  But  still,  I  fear,  that  his  joining  himself 
to  the  '  scarlet  woman'  —  and  soon  too  —  is  equally  certain. 

Fergusson  says  that  no  ingenuity  can  counteract  the  influence 
which  certain  priests  and  prelates  have  over  him,  chief  among 
them  being  Monsignore  Oapel.  The  speedy  result  is  inevitable, 
and  the  consummation  is  only  delayed  till  he  has  won  his 
bride.  .  .  . 

i  Disraeli  seldom  committed  the  artistic  mistake  of  reproducing  the 
character  and  habits  of  his  original  in  every  detail.  The  Duke  of 
Abercorn  was  careless  about  the  fit  of  his  clothes. 


The  Anglican  Bishop  is  clearly  taken  from  Wilberforce; 
and  considering  the  licence  which  the  Bishop  since  the 
autumn  of  1868  had  permitted  himself  to  use  in  speaking 
and  writing  of  Disraeli,  is  a  not  unflattering  portrait.  The 
Bishop  in  Lothair  is  described  as  l  polished  and  plausible, 
well-lettered,  yet  quite  a  man  of  the  world.  He  was  fond 
of  society,  and  justified  his  taste  in  this  respect  by  the  flat- 
tering belief  that  by  his  presence  he  was  extending  the 
power  of  the  Church ;  certainly  favouring  an  ambition  which 
could  not  be  described  as  being  moderate.'  We  are  told  of 
his  '  gracious  mien/  his  '  honeyed  expressions ' ;  that  he 
was  '  a  man  of  contrivance  and  resolution ' ;  while  in  his 
lighter  moments  he  was  capable  of  '  seraphic  raillery,' 
'  angelic  jokes,'  and  '  lambent  flashes.'  It  was  when  he  had 
made  some  particularly  deadly  lunge  or  parry,  in  the  secret 
duel  for  Lothair's  soul  which  was  carried  on  between  him 
and  the  Cardinal  at  Muriel  Towers,  that  these  playful  char- 
acteristics were  displayed. 

The  minor  characters  are  as  distinctive  and  amusing  as 
they  are  wont  to  be  in  Disraeli's  novels.  There  is  St. 
Aldegonde,  heir  to  the  wealthiest  dukedom  in  the  kingdom, 
but  '  a  republican  of  the  reddest  dye.  He  was  opposed  to 
all  privilege,  and  indeed  to  all  orders  of  men,  except  dukes, 
who  were  a  necessity.  He  was  also  strongly  in  favour  of 
the  equal  division  of  all  property,  except  land.  Liberty 
depended  upon  land,  and  the  greater  the  landowners  the 
greater  the  liberty  of  a  country.'  He  comes  down  to  break- 
fast in  a  country  house  on  Sunday  morning  in  a  (  shooting 
jacket  of  brown  velvet  and  a  pink  shirt  and  no  cravat,'  and, 
in  the  presence  of  the  Bishop  of  the  Diocese,  exclaims 
*  in  a  loud  voice,  and  with  the  groan  of  a  rebellious  Titan, 
"How  I  hate  Sunday!"' 

Then  there  is  Mr.  Phoebus,  the  painter,  who  belongs  rather 
to  the  revolutionary  group  than  to  the  panorama  of  society ; 
a  descendant  of  Gascon  nobles,  and  brilliant,  brave,  and 
boastful  as  they ;  the  prophet  of  Aryan  art  against  Semitism. 

160  LOTHAIK  [CHAP,  iv 

'  When  Leo  the  Tenth  was  Pope,'  he  says,  l  popery  was 
pagan ;  popery  is  now  Christian,  and  art  is  extinct.'  What 
he  admires  about  the  aristocracy  is  that  they  '  live  in  the  air, 
that  they  excel  in  athletic  sports ;  that  they  can  only  speak 
one  language ;  and  that  they  never  read.'  It  was  the  highest 
education  since  the  Greek.  Nothing  could  induce  him  to 
use  paper  money;  but  he  carried  about  with  him  on  his 
travels  '  several  velvet  bags,  one  full  of  pearls,  another  of 
rubies,  another  of  Venetian  sequins,  Napoleons,  and  golden 
piastres.  "  I  like  to  look  at  them,"  said  Mr.  Phoebus,  "  and 
find  life  more  intense  when  they  are  about  my  person.  But 
bank  notes,  so  cold  and  thin,  they  give  me  an  ague."  He 
rented  an  island  in  the  ^Egean  where,  in  the  company  of  his 
beautiful  Greek  wife  and  her  equally  attractive  sister,  he 
'  pursued  a  life  partly  feudal,  partly  Oriental,  partly  Vene- 
tian, and  partly  idiosyncratic ' ;  but,  in  spite  of  his  Aryan- 
ism,  he  consented  to  go  to  the  Holy  Land  on  a  commission 
from  the  Russian  Government  to  paint  Semitic  subjects, 
moved  partly  by  the  reflection,  '  They  say  no  one  can  draw 
a  camel.  If  I  went  to  Jerusalem  a  camel  would  at  last  be 
drawn.'  It  was  Phoebus  who  refurbished  and  launched 
the  ancient  gibe  at  the  critics,  as  '  the  men  who  have  failed 
in  literature  and  art.' 

Mr.  Pinto  is  another  capital  sketch ;  the  middle-aged, 
oily  Portuguese  who  was  one  of  the  marvels  of  society.  '  In- 
stead of  being  a  parasite,  everybody  flattered  him;  and 
instead  of  being  a  hanger-on  of  society,  society  hung  on 
Pinto.'  '  He  was  not  an  intellectual  Croesus,  but  his  pockets 
were  full  of  sixpences.'  Here  is  one  of  his  '  sixpences  '  in 
conversation  with  St.  Aldegonde.  '  English  is  an  expres- 
sive language,  but  not  difficult  to  master.  Its  range  is 
limited.  It  consists,  as  far  as  I  can  observe,  of  four  words : 
"  nice,"  "  jolly,"  "  charming,"  and  "  bore."  ' 

Then  we  have  Lord  and  Lady  Clanmorne,  '  so  good- 
looking  and  agreeable  that  they  were  as  good  at  a  dinner- 
party as  a  couple  of  first-rate  entrees  ' :  and  Apollonia,  the 
wife  of  Putney  Giles,  the  prosperous  solicitor,  whose  prin- 


cipal  mission  it  was  to  destroy  the  Papacy  and  her  lesser 
impulses  to  become  acquainted  with  the  aristocracy  and 
to  be  surrounded  by  celebrities.  Sir  William  Stirling  Max- 
well, in  congratulating  Disraeli,  happly  singled  out  '  your 
remarkable  power  of  painting  a  character  by  a  single  stroke.' 
Nor  must  we  forget  Mr.  Ruby,  the  Bond  Street  jeweller, 
whose  conversation  with  his  eminent  clients  is  delightful. 
He  holds  forth  to  Lothair  on  pearls. 

Pearls  are  troublesome  property,  my  Lord.  They  require 
great  care;  they  want  both  air  and  exercise;  they  must  be  worn 
frequently;  you  cannot  lock  them  up.  The  Duchess  of  Havant 
has  the  finest  pearls  in  the  country,  and  I  told  her  Grace,  '  Wear 
them  whenever  you  can,  wear  them  at  breakfast;'  and  her  Grace 
follows  my  advice,  she  does  wear  them  at  breakfast.  I  go  down 
to  Havant  Castle  every  year  to  see  her  Grace's  pearls,  and  I 
wipe  every  one  of  them  myself,  and  let  them  lie  on  a  sunny  bank 
in  the  garden,  in  a  westerly  wind,  for  hours  and  days  together. 
Their  complexion  would  have  been  ruined  had  it  not  been  for 
this  treatment. 

Visitors  to  Hughenden  in  the  latter  years  of  Lady  Bea- 
consfield's  life  remember  how  faithfully  Disraeli  followed 
Mr.  Ruby's  advice ;  how  he  was  wont  himself,  on  sunny  days, 
to  bring  out  his  wife's  pearls  and  lay  them  carefully  on  the 
grass  by  the  terrace,  so  that  they  might  not  fail  to  get  the 
'  air  '  which  was  so  important  for  their  complexion. 

Scattered  here  and  there  throughout  the  book  are  many 
shrewd  political  appreciations.  Take  this,  of  Scotland : 
'  The  Establishment  and  the  Free  Kirk  are  mutually  sigh- 
ing for  some  compromise  which  may  bring  them  together 
again ;  and  if  the  proprietors  would  give  up  their  petty 
patronage,  some  flatter  themselves  that  it  might  be  ar- 
ranged.' Disraeli  himself  was  to  abolish  the  *  petty  pa- 
tronage,' and  now  for  several  years  Presbyterian  reunion 
has  been  drawing  visibly  nearer.  About  Ireland  there  is 
naturally  more.  A  revolutionary  leader  says  of  the  Irish: 
'  Their  treason  is  a  fairy  tale,  and  their  sedition  a  child 
talking  in  its  sleep ' ;  while  a  Roman  Mbnsignore  tells  us 
that  <  the  difficulty  of  Ireland  is  that  the  priests  and  the 

162  LOTHAIR  [CHAP,  iv 

people  will  consider  everything  in  a  purely  Irish  point  of 
view.  To  gain  some  local  object,  they  will  encourage  the 
principles  of  the  most  lawless  Liberalism,  which  naturally 
land  them  in  Fenianism  and  atheism.'  The  aspirations  of 
Germany  after  a  fleet  are  again  noted.  In  the  revolution- 
ary meeting  in  London  the  German  delegate  says :  '  The 
peoples  will  never  succeed  till  they  have  a  fleet.  ...  To 
have  a  fleet  we  rose  against  Denmark  in  my  country.  .  .  . 
The  future  mistress  of  the  seas  is  the  land  of  the  Viking ' — 
an  odd  paraphrase  for  Germany.  Of  Austria  Monsignore 
Berwick  says :  '  Poor  Austria !  Two  things  made  her  a 
nation :  she  was  German  and  she  was  Catholic,  and  now 
she  is  neither.'  A  French  diplomatist  suggests  to  the  Mon- 
signore the  very  settlement  of  the  Roman  question  which 
was  actually  effected  in  a  few  months :  '  I  wish  I  could  in- 
duce you  to  consider  more  favourably  that  suggestion,  that 
His  Holiness  should  content  himself  with  the  ancient  city, 
and,  in  possession  of  St.  Peter's  and  the  Vatican,  leave  the 
rest  of  Rome  to  the  vulgar  cares  and  the  mundane  anxieties 
of  the  transient  generation.'  And  the  Disraeli  of  Sybil 
and  of  the  Artisans'  Dwellings  Acts  speaks  through  the 
mouth  of  Lothair  when  he  says :  '  It  seems  to  me  that 
pauperism  is  not  an  affairs  so  much  of  wages  as  of  dwellings. 
If  the  working  classes  were  properly  lodged,  at  their  present 
rate  of  wages,  they  would  be  richer.  They  would  be  health- 
ier and  happier  at  the  same  cost.' 

There  are  of  course  the  oddities  of  grammar,  absurdities 
of  expression,  and  exaggerations  of  fact  and  of  phrase, 
which  no  novel  of  Disraeli's  is  without;  and  in  Lokhair 
some  readers  are  put  off  by  the  occurrence  of  a  large  pro- 
portion of  these  in  the  early  pages.  But  we  have  also,  what 
is  more  to  the  purpose,  an  abundance  of  those  apt  phrases, 
half  aphorism  half  paradox,  into  which  Disraeli  distilled 
his  worldly  and  other-worldly  wisdom.  The  hansom  is 
'  the  gondola  of  London  ' ;  Pantheism  is  l  atheism  in  dom- 
ino ' ;  a  member  of  the  Church  of  England  appears  to  a 
Roman  convert  to  be  t  a  Parliamentary  Christian ' ;  an 


agreeable  person  is  '  a  person  who  agrees  with  '  you ;  at  the 
end  of  the  season  '  the  baffled  hopes  must  go  to  Cowes,  and 
the  broken  hearts  to  Baden ' ;  '  the  originality  of  a  subject 
is  in  its  treatment ' ;  '  the  world,  where  the  future  is  con- 
cerned, is  generally  wrong ' ;  '  patriotism  was  a  boast  and 
now  it  is  a  controversy ' ;  '  to  revive  faith  is  more  difficult 
than  to  create  it.' 

The  joy  which  Disraeli  evinces  in  the  material  world,  in 
natural  and  artistic  beauty,  in  the  dignity  and  even  in  the 
gauds  and  tinsel  of  wealthy  and  aristocratic  life,  should 
never  blind  the  reader  to  the  fact  that  the  story  of  the  book 
is  a  spiritual  conflict,  and  that  the  author  puts  here,  as  in 
Tancred  and  all  his  more  serious  writing,  the  soul  above 
the  body.  It  is  Lothair' s  soul  for  which  the  various  forces 
have  been  contending.  The  somewhat  shadowy  Syrian 
Christian,  Paraclete,  whom  Lothair  meets  towards  the  end 
of  his  wanderings,  seems  to  speak  the  author's  real  mind. 
What  is  his  teaching  ?  '  Science  may  prove  the  insignifi- 
cance of  this  globe  in  the  scale  of  creation,  but  it  cannot 
prove  the  insignificance  of  man.  .  .  .  There  is  no  relation 
between  the  faculties  of  man  and  the  scale  in  creation  of 
the  planet  which  he  inherits.'  '  There  must  be  design,  or 
all  we  see  would  be  without  sense,  and  I  do  not  believe  in  the 
unmeaning.'  '  A  monad  of  pure  intelligence,  is  that  more 
philosophical  than  the  truth  .  .  .  that  God  made  man  in 
his  own  image  ? '  Science  can  no  more  satisfy  the  soul  than 
superstition  or  revolt.  But  Disraeli's  practical  advice  is 
that  which  the  revolutionary  General  gave  as  his  parting 
word  to  Lothair.  '  Whatever  you  do,  give  up  dreams.  .  .  . 
Action  may  not  always  be  happiness,  but  there  is  no  happi- 
ness without  action.'  These  are  the  things  in  the  knowledge 
of  which  Disraeli  declares  the  salvation  of  our  youth  to  con- 
sist. *  Nosse  omnia  hsec  salus  est  adolescentulis '  is  the 
motto  from  Terence  prefixed  to  the  book. 

Beyond  this  motto,  Disraeli,  who  revealed  in  the  general 
preface  to  the  novels  in  the  autumn  the  origin  and  inten- 
tion of  his  earlier  romances,  declined  to  give  any  hint  about 

164  LOTHAIE  [CHAP,  iv 

the  purport  of  Lothair.  But  Longmans,  his  publishers,  cir- 
culated, presumably  with  his  consent,  as  an  advertisement 
of  the  new  edition,  a  letter  which  Professor  John  Stuart 
Blackie  had  addressed  to  the  Scotsman  on  the  significance 
of  the  work.  It  was  undoubtedly,  Blackie  maintained, 
'  what  the  Germans  call  a  tendenz-roman/  showing  how  cer- 
tain intellectual  agencies,  prominent  in  the  world  at  the 
time,  act  upon  a  hero  of  the  Wilhelm  Meister  type,  and  how 
the  illusions  of  Romanism  may  be  dispelled  in  favour  of 
rational  liberty  and  rational  piety.  Count  Vitzthum,  Dis- 
raeli's old  friend  in  the  diplomatic  world,  also  noted  the 
resemblance  to  Wilhelm  Meister,  both  novels  treating  of 
1  the  development  of  a  human  being  by  the  working  of  life 
and  experience.'  But  he  thought  Goethe's  hero  looked 
'  pale,  narrow-minded,  little,  a  poor  bourgeois,'  by  the  side 
of  Lothair,  '  a  real  prince,  a  citizen  of  the  world.'  Vitz- 
thum also  selected  for  praise  the  facility  of  giving  the 
formulas  of  all  the  philosophical  schools  of  the  age  so  that 
a  child  might  understand  them.  But  perhaps  the  apprecia- 
tion of  James  Clay,  a  friend  from  the  days  of  the  Medi- 
terranean wanderings,  pleased  Disraeli  most :  '  You  are  a 
wonderful  fellow  to  have  retained  the  freshness  and  buoy- 
ancy of  twenty-five.' 

Seldom  has  a  book  been  anticipated  with  such  interest 
or  produced  such  a  sensation  on  its  first  appearance.  There 
was  no  occasion  for  Longman  to  employ  the  puffing  tactics 
by  which  Colburn  in  Disraeli's  youthful  days  had  heralded 
the  publication  of  Vivian  Grey.  A  novel  by  an  ex-Premier, 
and  an  ex-Premier  of  so  strange  and  fascinating  a  type,  was 
enough  in  itself  to  set  the  town,  if  not  the  world,  agog. 
*  There  is  immense  and  most  malevolent  curiosity  about 
Disraeli's  novel,'  wrote  Houghton.  '  His  wisest  friends 
think  that  it  must  be  a  mistake,  and  his  enemies  hope  that 
it  will  be  his  ruin.'  The  book  was  actually  published,  in 
three  volumes,  on  Monday,  May  2.  But  the  advance  de- 
mand had  already  kept  Longman's  printers  busy.  On  April 
22,  he  told  Disraeli  that  the  subscription  list  would  be  about 

1870]  SUCCESS  OF  THE  BOOK  165 

2,000,  and  that  a  third  thousand  was  ready;  on  the  27th 
that  3,000  were  bespoken  and  a  fourth  in  hand ;  and  on  the 
29th,  three  days  before  publication,  that  they  had  gone  to 
press  with  a  fifth.  Four  days  after  publication  he  humor- 
ously described  to  Disraeli  the  run  upon  his  (  bankers  in 
Paternoster  Row.' 

From  Thomas  Longman. 

FARNBOROUGH  HILL,  HANTS,  May  6,  1870. — There  has  been  a 
run  upon  your  bankers  in  Paternoster  Row,  and  our  last  thou- 
sand is  nearly  gone!  We  shall  have  another  thousand  in  hand 
on  Wednesday  next.  This  will  be  the  sixth  thousand,  and  I  do 
not  feel  quite  certain  we  shall  not  be  broken  before  Wednesday! 
I  am  not  sure  that  it  would  not  do  good,  now  we  have  nearly 
5,000  in  circulation.  On  Monday  morning  Mr.  Mudie's  house 
was,  I  am  told,  in  a  state  of  siege.  At  an  early  hour  his  supply 
was  sent  in  two  carts.  But  real  subscribers,  and  representative 
footmen,  in  large  masses  were  there  before  them.  Mr.  Mudie 
has  had  700  more  copies.  .  .  . 

All  the  world  read  the  book;  every  journal  reviewed  it. 
It  was  the  principal  topic  of  polite  conversation  during  the 
London  season:  a  pretty  woman  was  even  heard  to  bet  a 
copy  of  Lothair  on  a  race  at  Ascot.  Horses,  songs,  and 
ships  were  named  after  the  hero  and  heroine;  a  scrap  in 
Disraeli's  handwriting  gives  the  following  list : 

Lothair.  Mr.  Stevens'  colt,  Mr.  Molloy's  song  by  Mme. 
Sherrington,  Greenwich  ship,  Lotbair  Galloppe,  Lothair  Per- 
fume, Lothair  Street. 

Corisande.  Baron  Rothschild's  filly,1  Mr.  Martin's  song  by 
Mme.  Montserrat,  Durham  ship,  Corisande  Valtz. 

Edition  followed  edition.  The  circulation  was  greatly 
helped  by  the  publication  of  an  abusive  letter  from  one 
who  conceived  himself  to  be  the  original  of  the  Oxford 
professor  described  in  the  book  as  '  of  advanced  opinions 
on  all  subjects,  religious,  social,  and  political ' ;  '  clever, 

i  Lady  Beaconsfield  preserved  among  the  Beaconsfield  papers  the  tele- 
gram by  which  Baron  Meyer  de  Rothschild  announced  to  her  and 
Disraeli  the  victory  of  the  famous  filly  Corisande  in  the  Cesarewitch. 

166  LOTHAIK  [CHAP,  iv 

extremely  well-informed,'  but  with  '  a  restless  vanity  and 
overflowing  conceit ' ;  '  gifted  with  a  great  command  of 
words,  which  took  the  form  of  endless  exposition,  varied 
by  sarcasm  and  passages  of  ornate  jargon  ' ;  and  —  unkind- 
est  cut  of  all  — '  like  sedentary  men  of  extreme  opinions, 
...  a  social  parasite.' 

From  Goldwin  Smith. 

1870. —  In  your  Lothair  you  introduce  an  Oxford  professor,  who 
is  about  to  emigrate  to  America,  and  you  describe  him  as  a  social 
parasite.  You  well  know  that  if  you  had  ventured  openly  to 
accuse  me  of  any  social  baseness,  you  would  have  had  to  answer 
for  your  words;  but  when  sheltering  yourself  under  the  literary 
form  of  a  work  of  fiction,  you  seek  to  traduce  with  impunity 
the  social  character  of  a  political  opponent,  your  expressions 
can  touch  no  man's  honour;  they  are  the  stingless  insults  of  a 

This  was,  indeed,  as  a  journalist  said,  l  'Ercles'  vein ' ; 
and  it  is  no  wonder  that  Longman  could  write  on  June  9 : 
'  The  Oxford  Professor's  letter  is  doing  its  work  well.  So 
much  so  that  we  shall  print  again  as  soon  as  I  have  your 
corrections.'  Disraeli  never  answered  Goldwin  Smith ;  but 
in  a  letter  to  an  American  literary  friend  he  threw  an  in- 
teresting sidelight  on  the  outburst. 

To  Robert  Carter. 

Confidential.  HUGHENDEN  MANOR,  Aug.  13,  1870. — .  .  .  I 
know  nothing  personally  of  Mr.  Goldwin  Smith.  I  never  saw 
him.  More  than  twenty  years  ago,  the  Peelite  party  who  had 
purchased  the  Morning  Chronicle,  mainly  to  decry  me  and  my 
friends,  engaged  a  new  hand  who  distinguished  himself  by  a 
series  of  invectives  against  myself,  wh.  far  passed  the  bounds 
of  legitimate  political  hostility.  I  cared  nothing,  and  have  never 
cared  anything,  about  these  personal  attacks,  to  which  I  have 
been  subject  all  my  life  and  wh.  have  never,  in  the  least,  arrested 
my  career;  but  the  writer,  I  found  out  many  years  afterwards, 
was  Mr.  Goldwin  Smith,  who  was  well  paid  for  his  pains.  I 
don't,  and  never  did,  grudge  him  that:  but  this  is  hardly  the 
person  to  inveigh  against  personalities  and  anonymous  writing. 


I  have  sometimes  brushed  him  aside,  as  I  would  a  mosquito, 
but  am  always  too  much  occupied  to  bear  him,  or  any  other 
insect,  any  ill-will.  .  .  . 

The  outbreak  of  the  Franco-German  War  caused  the  de- 
mand, for  the  moment,  somewhat  to  slacken;  but  with  the 
appearance  in  November  of  a  collected  edition  of  Disraeli's 
novels,  at  6s.  a  volume,  having  Lothair  as  the  first  volume, 
the  '  Lothair-mania,'  as  Longman  wrote,  broke  out  again 
'  with  all  its  virulence.  Twice  we  have  printed  5,000 
copies,  and  now  we  have  another  5,000=15,000,  at  press.' 
The  book  was  translated  into  every  European  language,  and 
the  demand  in  Germany  so  far  exceeded  expectation 
that  Baron  Tauchnitz,  the  publisher,  as  Longman  noted, 
'  doubled,  more  suo,  his  tribute-money.'  In  America  the 
sale  was  even  greater  than  in  England.  Messrs.  Appleton 
began  by  printing  25,000  copies,  which  were  sold  out  in 
three  days ;  and  in  July  the  demand  was  still  a  thousand 
copies  a  day.  By  October  80,000  copies  had  been  sold 
there.  Disraeli  proudly  claimed,  in  the  General  Preface 
which  he  wrote  for  the  collected  edition,  that  the  book  had 
been  '  more  extensively  read  both  by  the  people  of  the 
United  Kingdom  and  the  United  States  than  any  work  that 
has  appeared  for  the  last  half-century.' 

But  if  the  public  devoured  the  novel,  the  reviewers  for 
the  more  critical  journals  and  magazines  were,  as  a  rule, 
unfavourable.  The  Times  was,  indeed,  highly  apprecia- 
tive ;  and  the  Pall  Mall  Gazette  called  it  an  '  admirable 
novel '  which  '  must  have  cost  the  author,  we  cannot  help 
fancying,  no  effort  whatever;  it  was  as  easy  and  delight- 
ful for  him  to  write  as  for  us  to  read.'  But  the  Saturday 
Review  was  captious,  and  the  Edinburgh  patronising;  the 
Athenaeum  maintained  that  the  book  would  have  passed 
unnoticed  if  written  by  anyone  else ;  while  both  Blackwood, 
a  representative  of  Scottish  Conservatism,  and  the  Quar- 
terly, true  as  ever  to  its  anti-Disraeli  attitude,  condemned 
it  with  the  utmost  severity.  The  latter  dubbed  it  a  '  fail- 
ure,' an  '  outrage,'  '  a  sin  against  good  taste  and  justice,' 

168  LOTHAIR  [CHAP,  iv 

1  a  vast  mass  of  verbiage  which  can  seldom  be  called  Eng- 
lish ' ;  and  even  had  the  hardihood  to  call  a  book  which 
contains  some  of  Disraeli's  liveliest  and  most  satirical  writ- 
ing, '  as  dull  as  ditchwater  and  as  flat  as  a  flounder.'  Abra- 
ham Hayward,  always  a  malignant  critic  of  Disraeli,  wrote 
the  Quarterly  article ;  Houghton,  a  '  goodnatured '  friend, 
the  Edinburgh;  the  Blackwood  attack  *  was  from  the  in- 
cisive pen  of  the  soldier-critic,  Hamley.  In  the  General 
Preface  Disraeli  hit  some  shrewd  blows  back;  and  one  can 
recognise  at  least  Houghton  and  Hayward  in  the  following 
passage : 

One  could  hardly  expect  at  home  the  judicial  impartiality 
of  a  foreign  land.  Personal  influences  inevitably  mingle  in 
some  degree  with  such  productions.  There  are  critics  who, 
abstractedly,  do  not  approve  of  successful  books,  partic\ilarly 
if  they  have  failed  in  the  same  style;  social  acquaintances  also 
of  lettered  taste,  and  especially  contemporaries  whose  public  life 
has  not  exactly  realised  the  vain  dreams  of  their  fussy  existence, 
would  seize  the  accustomed  opportunity  of  welcoming  with 
affected  discrimination  about  nothing,  and  elaborate  controversy 
about  trifles,  the  production  of  a  friend;  and  there  is  always, 
both  in  politics  and  literature,  the  race  of  the  Dennises,  the 
Oldmixons,  and  Curls,  who  flatter  themselves  that,  by  syste- 
matically libelling  some  eminent  personage  of  their  times,  they 
ihave  a  chance  of  descending  to  posterity.2 

At  least  one  later  critic  of  undoubted  competence  has 
endorsed  the  condemnation  of  the  contemporary  reviewers. 
Sir  Leslie  Stephen,  who  showed  much  appreciation  of  the 
earlier  novels,  has  left  on  record  the  opinion  that  the  easiest 
assumption  to  make  about  Lothair  is  '  that  it  is  a  practical 
joke  on  a  large  scale,  or  a  prolonged  burlesque  upon  Mr. 
Disraeli's  own  youthful  performances.'  Nevertheless,  the 
judgment  of  the  world  is  decisive  against  Stephen,  and 
holds,  that  Lothair  is  among  the  best,  if  not  the  absolute  best, 

1  Manners  wrote  on  Nov.  10:     'Did  I  ever  tell  you  that  in  conse- 
quence of  that  abominable  article  in  the  summer  I  renounced  Black- 
wood  f    Though  you  would  not  care  for  his  ribaldry,  perhaps  you  may 
like  to  know  that  your  friends  did.' 

2  General  Preface  to  the  novels,  Oct.,  1870. 

1870]  PECUNIARY  RETURN  169 

of  Disraeli's  novels.  Mr.  George  Eussell  expressed  a  grow- 
ing opinion  when  he  declared  it  the  author's  masterpiece; 
'  a  profound  study  of  spiritual  and  political  forces  at  a 
supremely  important  moment  in  the  history  of  modern 
Europe.'  Lord  Russell  saw  deep  significance  beneath  the 
gaudy  trappings,  and  held  it  to  be  the  work  of  a  political 
seer.  Froude  regarded  it  as  '  immeasurably  superior '  to 
anything  of  the  kind  which  Disraeli  had  previously  pro- 
duced; adding,  '  Lothair  opens  a  window  into  Disraeli's 
mind,  revealing  the  inner  workings  of  it  more  completely 
than  anything  else  which  he  wrote  or  said.'  This  last  ap- 
preciation is,  perhaps,  excessive;  Tancred  and  Lord  George 
Bentinck  are  more  self-revealing,  if  only  because  of  their 
insistence  on  the  Jewish  standpoint,  which  is  not  obtruded 
in  Lothair;  but  Lothair  takes  rank  beside  Coningsby,  and 
these  two  are  the  novels  on  which  Disraeli's  literary  repu- 
tation rests  with  the  general  reader  of  to-day. 

The  pecuniary  return  of  Lothair  was  considerable.  For 
the  original  edition  of  2,000  copies  Longmans  paid  Disraeli 
£1,000 ;  and  together  with  royalties  on  subsequent  copies 
and  on  the  one-volume  edition,  and  with  the  foreign  rights 
of  the  book,  he  had  received  in  all  by  the  end  of  1876  over 
£6,000.  The  large  sales  of  Lothair  increased  the  demand 
for  its  predecessors,  from  Vivian  Grey  to  Tancred.  On 
these  in  the  new  edition  Disraeli  had  already  received  over 
£1,000  in  royalties,  when,  in  1877,  he  came  to  a  new  ar- 
rangement with  his  publishers  by  which  they  paid  him  a 
further  sum  of  £2,100  for  the  copyright  of  the  whole  ten 
volumes  of  novels.  He  was  so  much  encouraged  by  his 
success  that  he  soon  made  a  start  upon  a  new  novel,  En- 
dymion;  which,  however,  owing  to  the  renewal  of  his  po- 
litical activity  and  his  subsequent  return  to  office,  was  not 
completed  and  published  till  ten  years  later. 

The  publication  of  Lothair,  like  that  of  Tancred,  was 
politically  a  hindrance  rather  than  a  help  to  Disraeli.  The 
serious  politician,  like  Gladstone  in  the  Punch  cartoon, 
pronounced  it  flippant.  How  could  Parliamentarians  be 

170  LOTHAIE  [CHAP,  iv 

expected  to  trust  an  ex-Premier  who,  when  half-way  between 
sixty  and  seventy,  instead  of  occupying  his  leisure,  in  ac- 
cordance with  the  British  convention,  in  classical,  his- 
torical, or  constitutional  studies,  produced  a  gaudy  romance 
of  the  peerage,  so  written  as  to  make  it  almost  impossible 
to  say  how  much  was  ironical  or  satirical,  and  how  much 
soberly  intended?  It  may  be  taken  for  granted  that  Dis- 
raeli's old  colleagues  did  not  know  what  to  think  of  the 
book,  as  among  the  congratulatory  letters  preserved  in  the 
Beaconsfield  correspondence  their  handwriting  is  markedly 
absent.  This  political  distrust  was  increased  by  the  resusci- 
tation, in  the  General  Preface  in  the  autumn,  of  all  the  pe- 
culiar doctrines  about  English  history  and  politics,  about 
Christianity  and  Judaism,  and  about  religion  and  science, 
which  the  English  people  had  found  difficult  of  assimilation 
when  propounded  in  Coningsby,  Sybil,  and  Tancred,  in 
Lord  George  Bentinck  and  in  the  Sheldonian  speech,  and 
many  of  which  were  even  now  caviare  to  the  general.  The 
whole  literary  performance  of  the  year  made  Disraeli,  the 
man,  a  more  interesting  figure  than  ever ;  but  it  only  deep- 
ened the  doubts  about  Disraeli,  the  statesman,  which  the 
heavy  defeat  of  1868,  and  the  apparent  hopelessness  of  the 
Conservative  cause  in  opposition,  had  aroused. 




'  There  are  few  positions  less  inspiriting  than  that  of  the 
leader  of  a  discomfited  party.'  The  words  are  Disraeli's 
own,  from  the  first  chapter  of  Lord  George  Bentinck,  and 
they  were  written  in  reference  to  Russell's  position  in  the 
Peel  Parliament  of  1841.  But  they  apply  with  at  least 
equal  force  to  the  situation  which  Disraeli  had  himself 
occupied  since  the  General  Election  of  1868.  Opposite 
him  there  had  sat  an  overwhelming  and  enthusiastic  ma- 
jority, who,  with  few  exceptions,  had  steadily  acted  on  the 
principle  that  it  was  their  duty  l  to  say  ditto  to  Mr.  Glad- 
stone '  as  the  Prime  Minister  pursued  his  strenuous  career ; 
and  though  in  the  session  of  1871  there  had  been  many 
Ministerial  mishaps,  with  the  corollary  of  some  Opposition 
victories  in  by-elections,  yet  all  the  efforts  of  the  Conserva- 
tive party  and  the  adroitness  of  their  leader  had  hitherto 
been  unavailing  materially  to  improve  their  position  and 
prospects.  The  Times,  in  a  judicial  leading  article  towards 
the  close  of  1871, *  pronounced  that  anything  like  a  per- 
manent tenure  of  office  for  the  Conservatives  was  impos- 
sible. '  The  leaders  of  the  party  do  not  believe  in  it.  The 
country  gives  them  no  confidence.  The  majority  is  against 
them.  All  the  forces  of  the  time  are  strained  in  an  oppo- 
site direction.'  It  was  as  true  of  Disraeli  from  1869  to 
1872,  as  of  Russell  from  1841  to  1845,  that 

he  who  in  the  Parliamentary  field  watches  over  the  fortunes  of 
routed  troops  must  be  prepared  to  sit  often  alone.  Few  care 
to  share  the  labour  which  is  doomed  to  be  fruitless,  and  none 

i  Nov.  20. 

172  THE  TUKN  OF  THE  TIDE  [CHAP,  v 

are  eager  to  diminish  the  responsibility  of  him  whose  course, 
however  adroit,  must  necessarily  be  ineffectual.  ...  A  dis- 
heartened Opposition  will  be  querulous  and  captious.  A  dis- 
couraged multitude  have  no  future;  too  depressed  to  indulge 
in  a  large  and  often  hopeful  horizon  of  contemplation,  they  busy 
themselves  in  peevish  detail,  and  by  a  natural  train  of  senti- 
ment associate  their  own  conviction  of  ill-luck,  incapacity,  and 
failure,  with  the  most  responsible  member  of  their  confedera- 

The  discontent  reached  a  climax  in  the  winter  of  1871- 
1872.  The  policy  of  reserve  in  opposition  which  Disraeli 
had  on  the  whole  maintained,  and  which  had  produced  satis- 
factory results  in  alluring  ministers  into  indiscretions,  was 
galling  to  eager  and  impetuous  spirits ;  and  in  the  previous 
session  the  '  Colonels '  had  got  out  of  hand  in  their  violent 
opposition  to  the  Army  Bill,  and  the  anti-Disraeli  clique  in 
their  obstruction  of  the  Ballot  Bill.  Complaint  was  made 
that,  in  spite  of  tempting  opportunities  afforded  by  Minis- 
terial blunders,  Disraeli  had  avoided  political  speaking  dur- 
ing the  recesses,  putting  off  from  year  to  year  the  demon- 
stration in  Manchester  which  his  Lancashire  friends  pressed 
him  to  accept.  His  own  excuse  to  Matthew  Arnold,  who 
met  him  at  a  country  house  party  at  Latimer  in  January, 
1872,  was  that  '  the  Ministers  were  so  busy  going  about 
apologising  for  their  failures  that  he  thought  it  a  pity  to 
distract  public  attention  from  the  proceeding.'  Further, 
the  publication  of  Lothair  and  of  the  General  Preface  to 
the  novels  had  revived  all  the  former  doubts  as  to  whether 
a  Jewish  literary  man,  so  dowered  with  imagination,  and 
so  unconventional  in  his  outlook,  was  the  proper  person 
to  lead  a  Conservative  party  to  victory.  Would  it  not  be 
better  to  go  into  battle  under  the  old  Stanley  banner? 
Derby  had  gained  golden  opinions  as  Foreign  Secretary, 
and  had  that  plain  common  sense,  love  of  peace,  and  modera- 
tion of  political  faith  which  appealed  to  the  middle  classes 
in  the  rapidly  growing  urban  communities,  and  which  might 
be  expected,  were  he  the  party  leader,  to  attract  considerable 
\  Lord  George  Bentinck,  ch.  1. 




Liberal  support  to  the  Conservative  cause.  The  rival  claims 
of  Disraeli  and  Derby  were  widely  discussed  by  politicians 
throughout  the  party  and  the  country,  in  newspapers,  clubs, 
and  debating  societies;  though  Derby  made  no  sign  what- 
ever, and  there  is  not  the  smallest  reason  to  suppose  that 
he  would  have  consented  to  play  the  part  his  admirers  al- 
lotted to  him. 

Even  Disraeli's  colleagues  were  infected  with  the  rising 
spirit  of  dissatisfaction ;  and  no  less  intimate  a  friend  than 
Cairns  was  the  first  to  give  it  expression  at  a  gathering  of 
Conservative  leaders  at  Burghley  just  before  the  session; 
from  which  gathering  not  only  Disraeli  himself,  but  also 
Derby,  Richmond,  and  Malmesbury  were  absent.  Hardy's 
diary  is  our  authority  for  what  took  place. 

At  our  meeting  (February  1)  Cairns  boldly  broached  the  sub- 
ject of  Lord  Derby's  lead,  and  the  importance  of  Disraeli  know- 
ing the  general  feeling.  We  all  felt  that  none  of  his  old 
colleagues  could,  or  would,  undertake  such  a  task  as  informing 
him.  John  Manners  alone  professed  ignorance  of  the  feeling 
in  or  out  of  doors.  I  expressed  my  view  that  D.  has  been  loyal 
to  his  friends,  and  that  personally  I  would  not  say  that  I 
preferred  Lord  D.,  but  that  it  was  idle  to  ignore  the  general 
opinion.  Noel  *  said  that  from  his  own  knowledge  he  could  say 
that  the  name  of  Lord  Derby  as  leader  would  affect  40  or  50 
seats.  .  .  .  For  my  own  part  I  do  not  look  forward  with  hope 
to  Derby,  but  I  cannot  but  admit  that  Disraeli,  as  far  as  appears, 
has  not  the  position  in  House  and  country  to  enable  him  to  do 
what  the  other  might.2 

Northcote  is  not  mentioned  in  this  account;  but  he  used 
to  say  that  he  was  the  only  one  of  those  present  who  was 
stanch  to  his  chief,  and  to  wonder  if  Disraeli  knew  of  his 
loyalty.  It  may  be  taken  for  granted  that  none  of  Dis- 
raeli's colleagues  informed  him  of  the  opinions  expressed 
at  Burghley.  Apparently,  however,  some  representation 
of  the  discontent  of  a  section  of  his  followers  in  the  House 
of  Commons  was  conveyed  to  him,  and  in  reply  he  intimated 
that  he  would  be  quite  ready  to  give  place  to  Derby  if  the 

i  One  of  the  Whips.  2  Gathorne  Hardy,  Vol.  I.,  p.  305. 

174  THE  TUEN  OF  THE  TIDE  [CHAP,  v 

party  wished  it,  but  in  that  case  he  would  himself  retire 
below  the  gangway  —  a  contingency  which  the  most  re- 
calcitrant follower  would  hardly  face. 

In  any  case  so  shrewd  a  judge  of  party  feeling  could  not 
fail  to  be  aware  of  the  prevailing  uneasiness ;  accordingly, 
while  his  lieutenants  were  discussing  his  shortcomings  at 
Burghley,  he,  as  his  correspondence  shows,  was  gathering 
in  his  hands  all  the  strands  of  a  complicated  political  situa- 
tion, and  preparing  to  demonstrate  that  he  was  as  indis- 
pensable as  he  had  ever  been  since  he  had  imposed  himself 
on  his  party  in  1849.  A  rap  over  the  knuckles  for  his  col- 
league, the  duke  who  led  the  Opposition  in  the  Lords,  was 
a  clear  reminder  of  his  claims  as  leader  —  especially  if  the 
censure  was,  as  Hardy  thought,  unjust.  Incidentally  the 
high  tone  he  takes  shows  how  little  disposed  he  was  to  that 
adulation  of  dukes,  which  some  who  misread  Lothair  have  at- 
tributed to  him.  '  Talk  not  to  me  of  dukes,'  he  burst  out 
on  one  occasion  when  a  duke  had  disappointed  him ;  '  dukes 
can  be  made ! '  He  had  made  one  himself. 

To   the  Duke  of  Richmond. 

Confidential.  BURGHLEY  HOUSE,  STAMFORD,  Jan.  11,  1872. —  I 
have  been  much  engaged  during  the  last  six  weeks,  in  corre- 
spondence with  our  supporters  in  the  Ho.  of  Commons,  as  to 
their  course,  in  the  next  session,  respecting  the  ballot.  The 
Lancashire  members,  our  most  powerful  friends,  are  particularly 
embarrassed  by  this  question:  the  members  for  the  Boro[ugh]s, 
in  some  instances,  being  hard  pressed  by  their  constituents  to 
support  it,  while,  on  the  other  hand,  Mr.  Cross,  the  M.P.  for 
South  Lancashire,  who  defeated  Mr.  Gladstone,  moved,  at  bis 
own  request,  the  absolute  rejection  of  the  Bill  during  the  last 

This  gentleman,  uneasy  on  the  matter,  and  requesting  my 
advice,  informed  me,  some  time  ago,  that  Lord  Skelmersdale 
bad  assured  him,  that  he  might'  depend  on  the  Whig  peers  giving 
the  measure  an  uncompromising  opposition.  Not  being  myself 
certain  of  this,  I  advised  him,  in  our  perplexity,  not  to  change 
his  front,  but  not  unnecessarily  to  dwell  on  the  subject. 

In  this  state  of  affairs,  I  took  advantage  of  being  in  the  West 
to  arrange  to  meet  Lord  Cairns  at  Ld.  Malmesbury's,  and  to 


confer  with  him  on  matters  in  general,  wh.  daily  assume  a  more 
critical  character.  To  my  astonishment,  I  learned  from  Lord 
Cairns,  that  your  Grace  had  received  a  communication  from 
Lord  Russell,  that  our  party  in  the  House  of  Lords  must  no 
longer  count  on  him,  the  Duke  of  Somerset,  and  others,  as 
opponents  to  the  ballot.  Lord  Cairns  naturally  assumed  that 
your  Grace  had  immediately  apprised  me  of  this  information, 
so  necessary  to  me  for  the  satisfactory  conduct  of  business.1 

I  am  sure  your  Grace  will  not  misconceive  my  meaning,  when 
I  express  my  deep  regret  at  the  habitual  want  of  communica- 
tion, which  now  subsists  between  the  leaders  of  our  party  in  the 
two  Houses.  If  my  individual  feelings  only  we're  concerned,  I 
should  not  touch  upon  the  matter,  but,  with  the  responsibility  of 
conducting  difficult  affairs  for  the  common  good,  it  is  my  duty 
to  remark  on  circumstances,  wh.  I  am  sure,  are  fraught  with 
injurious  consequences  to  the  cause,  wh.  we  are  anxious  to  up- 

From  the  Duke  of  Richmond. 

GOODWOOD,  CHICHESTER,  Jan.  12,  1872. —  I  hope  that  ere  this 
you  will  have  reed,  a  letter  which  I  wrote  a  few  days  aero,  and 
directed  to  Hughenden.  I  enclosed  a  letter  from  Lord  Russell. 

I  will  not  conceal  from  you  how  very  much  annoyed  I  am 
to  find  from  your  letter  that  you  consider  there  has  been  habitual 
want  of  communication  subsisting  between  the  leaders  of  our 
party  in  the  two  Houses. 

This  wd.  imply  that  I  had  studiously  avoided  acting  with  you. 
If  this  was  so  I  should  have  been  justly  liable  to  censure,  for  I 
quite  concur  that,  unless  the  leaders  in  both  Houses  act  in  con- 
cert and  with  cordiality,  it  is  quite  impossible  that  the  business 
can  be  carried  on  in  a  satisfactory  manner. 

I  think,  if  you  reflect,  you  will  recollect  that  I  was  in  constant 
communication  with  you  during  the  last  session  of  Parliament. 
You  will  recollect  Cairns  and  I  met  you  in  the  Carlton  to  discuss 
the  American  question.  I  also  saw  you  frequently  about  the 
Army  Bill  and  the  ballot,  and  communicated  to  you  at  once  all 
the  negotiations  which  were  then  pending  between  me  and  Lord 

I  did  not  think  it  necessary  to  trouble  you  with  the  letter 
I  reed.  fr.  Lord  Russell  after  I  got  to  Scotland,  but  always 
intended  to  do  so  before  the  meeting  of  Parliament.  It  is  possi- 
ble that  it  would  have  been  better  had  I  sent  it  to  you  sooner, 

i '  I  shall  certainly  tell  the  Duke  of  R.,'  wrote  Malmesbury  to  Dis- 
'•aeli  on  Jan.  S,  '  my  opinion  as  to  his  want  of  concert  with  you.' 


but  for  some  time  past  I  have  been  very  busy  with  my  own  affairs. 
I  have  deemed  it  right  to  enter  into  these  details,  because  I 
am  most  anxious  that  you  should  be  satisfied  that  I  have  not 
been  guilty  of  any  want  of  courtesy  towards  you.  Indeed  I 
should  have  hoped  that  our  long  acquaintance  would  have  been 
sufficient  to  have  prevented  you  from  imagining  such  a  thing. 
I  quite  appreciate  the  responsibility  and  difficulty  of  your  posi- 
tion, and  always  wish  to  assist  you  by  all  means  in  my  power. 

To  the  Duke,  of  Richmond. 

LATIMER,  OHESHAM,  Jan.  16,  1872. —  I  have  received  both  your 
letters,  and  have  read  the  last  in  the  spirit  in  wh.  it  is  written. 

I  return  herewith  the  letter  of  Lord  Russell,  and  the  copy 
of  his  letter  to  Lord  Lyveden.  They  do  not  appear  to  me  to  bear 
altogether  the  interpretation,  wh.  Lord  Cairns  placed  upon  them, 
or,  rather,  wh.  I  apprehended  he  placed  upon  them. 

The  intimations  of  Lord  Eussell  seem  to  me  to  be  altogether 
hypothetical,  and  to  rest  upon  a  basis,  wh.  he  contemplated  as 
probable,  but  wh.  has  not  occurred,  viz.,  '  That  the  country  would 
support  the  House  of  Commons  in  asking  for  the  ballot.' 

The  country  during  the  recess  has  been  silent  on  the  subject, 
and  tho'  many  important  elections  have  happened,  and  are  about 
to  take  place,  the  question  of  the  ballot  seems  to  have  no  in- 
fluence upon  their  result. 

Lord  Russell  and  his  friends,  therefore,  on  the  reassembling 
of  Parliament,  are  free  to  recur  to  their  old  grounds  of  opposi- 
tion to  the  measure,  and  may  even  do  so. 

Whether  such  a  course  on  their  part  should  regulate  ours,  is 
another  question,  and  wh.  I  would  rather  leave  to  personal 
deliberations  when  we  are  better  acquainted  with  the  exact  propo- 
sitions of  the  Ministry. 

We  must  not  conceal  from  ourselves,  that  the  Tory  party  in 
the  Ho.  of  Commons  is  not  united  on  the  question,  and  tho' 
I  am  not  myself  prepared,  under  any  circumstances,  to  concede 
the  principle  of  secret  voting,  as  at  present  advised,  I  fear  our 
ranks  may  be  broken. 

I  wish  I  could  see  the  practical  elements  of  that  compromise 
wh.  Lord  Russell  seems  to  contemplate.  Any  provision  to  secure 
scrutiny  and  prevent  personation,  will,  according  to  the  Radical 
view,  destroy  the  Bill. 

Richmond  showed  this  correspondence  to  his  principal 
colleagues,  who,  while  they  gave  him  their  sympathy,  could 
not  fail  to  draw  their  own  conclusions  as  to  the  disposition 

1872]  THE  ALABAMA  CLAIMS  177 

of  their  chief.  Cairns's  comment  was  that  after  two  years 
of  apathy  Disraeli  was  beginning  to  wake  up,  and  fancy  all 
beside  were  asleep.  What  Cairns  called  apathy  might  per- 
haps be  more  truly  described  as  calculated  and  successful 
reserve ;  but  at  any  rate  there  is  no  doubt  that  Disraeli  was 
awake  now. 

The  public  question  which  gave  him  and  his  political 
friends  at  the  moment  most  concern  was  the  difficulty  with 
the  United  States  over  the  Alabama  question.  Disraeli 
and  his  Foreign  Secretary,  Derby,  had  been  the  first  British 
statesmen  in  office  to  admit  the  principle  of  arbitration; 
and  accordingly  Northcote,  as  a  leading  Conservative  states- 
man, had  consented  to  take  a  share  in  negotiating  in  the 
previous  year  the  Treaty  of  Washington  which  carried  the 
principle  into  practical  effect.1  Disraeli  was  not  satisfied 
with  the  conduct  of  the  negotiations;  but,  at  any  rate,  the 
terms  of  the  treaty  were  so  limited  by  the  British  Commis- 
sioners as  to  render  it  in  their  opinion  ultra  vires  for  the 
tribunal  to  admit  and  adjudicate  upon  those  indirect  claims, 
making  this  country  responsible  for  the  prolongation  of  the 
Civil  War,  which  spread-eagle  politicians  in  America  like 
Sumner  put  forward,  but  which  Derby  had  expressly  ex- 
cluded in  1868.  Great  was  the  shock,  therefore,  when  it 
was  discovered  that  the  American  case  to  be  submitted  to 
the  arbitrators  embraced  and  insisted  upon  these  very  far- 
reaching  claims  as  well  as  those  specifically  *  growing  out  of 
the  acts  committed  '  by  certain  vessels. 

To  Lord  Cairns. 

Private.  GROSVENOR  GATE,  Jan.  27,  1872. — .  .  .  Affairs  here 
are  most  critical  and  anxious.  All  is  absorbed  in  the  Alabama 
question.  Hayward  told  Exmouth  yesterday,  that  unless  they 

i  Lord  George  Hamilton  in  his  Reminiscences  says  that  Northcote 
accepted  the  task  without  consulting  Disraeli ;  but  this  appears  to  be 
a  mistake,  as  Lord  Morley  in  his  Gladstone,  Bk;  VI.,  ch.  9,  quotes  a 
contemporary  letter  from  Granville,  then  Foreign  Secretary,  to  Glad- 
stone :  '  I  asked  Northcote.  .  .  .  He  said  he  must  ask  Lady  North- 
cote,  and  requested  permission  to  consult  Dizzy.  The  former  con- 
sented, ditto  Dizzy.' 

178  THE  TURN  OF  THE  TIDE  [CHAP,  v 

withdraw  from  the  arbitration,  the  Cabinet  must  break  up. 
Would  that  they  would  withdraw!  But  can  they?  After  hav- 
ing advised  their  Sovereign  to  ratify  the  treaty  —  and  in  such 
haste ! 

I  have  not  seen  the  foreign  case,  nor  has  Lord  Derby,  but 
we  know  its  scope  from  those  who  have  —  Cockburn,  Delane, 
Ld.  Stanhope  and  others  speak  of  it  as  most  masterly.  North- 
cote,  who  has  it,  speaks  of  it  disparagingly:  can  easily  be  an- 
swered, crushingly,  and  all  that.  But  this  is"  not  the  point. 
Our  complaint  is,  that  it  opens  the  indirect  issue,  the  relinquish- 
ment  of  which  by  U.S.  was  our  consideration  for  consenting 
to  express  regret,  and  dealing  with  the  law  of  nations  ex  post 
facto.  In  the  initiated  quarters,  there  is  no  confidence  in,  at 
least  two  of,  the  arbitrators.  They  are  supposed  to  be  manage- 
able by  an  unscrupulous  Government.  Altogether  I  never  knew 
public  feeling  so  disturbed  and  dark. 

I  am  most  anxious  to  see  you  Tuesday  at  12.  Perhaps  North- 
cote  may  be  here.  It  was  impossible  for  me  to  go  to  Burghley, 
as  I  had  previously  declined  Belvoir.  At  this  moment  I  must 
be  at  headquarters. 

To  Sir  Stafford  Northcote. 

Private.  GROSVENOR  GATE,  Jan.  30,  '72. — .  .  .  Cairns  has 
been  with  me  this  morning.  A  long,  but  not  a  satisfactory,  visit. 
He  holds,  in  this  with  me,  that  the  Government  scheme  of  pro- 
testing to  the  arbitrators,  and  awaiting  their  judgment  on  the 
protest,  [is]  quite  futile. 

They  are  not  bound  to  adjudicate  on  the  point  and  they  will 
decline.  Arbitrators,  he  says,  always  avoid  unnecessary  de- 
cisions, and  details;  and  he  is  quite  prepared,  if  the  arbitra- 
tion is  concluded,  that  they  will  give  their  verdict  for  a  sum 
without  apportioning  the  amount. 

2.  He  holds  withdrawal  from  the  arbitration,  a  clear  casus 

3.  He   is   of   opinion   that   the   treaty   justifies   the   American 
demand,  and,  he  says,  he  said  as  much  in  House  of  Lords  last 

In  such  a  mess  of  difficulties  all  I  can  see  at  present,  is  to 
counsel  direct  and  friendly  application  to  the  Government  of 
Washington.  This  will  not  be  a  casus  belli,  but  I  fear  must  end 
in  that. 

The  Americans  will  not  go  to  war  —  at  least  at  present  —  for 
there  are  many  reasons  to  deter  them,  but  they  will  keep  the 

1872]  A  BLAZE  OF  APOLOGY'  179 

question  open,  and  we  shall  still,  after  our  sacrifices,  have  the 
Alabama  claims,  but  in  a  worse  form.  .  .  . 

When  Parliament  met,  Disraeli  described  the  indirect 
claims  as  '  preposterous  and  wild/  and  equivalent  to  *  the 
tribute  of  a  conquered  people.'  If  the  Government  held 
that  there  was  no  doubt  that  the  treaty  excluded  these 
claims,  they  must  speak  out  calmly,  frankly,  and  firmly, 
avoiding  '  the  Serbonian  bog  of  diplomacy,'  and  tell  the 
United  States  Government  plainly  that  it  was  impossible  to 
accept  their  interpretation,  and  that,  if  they  maintained 
it,  the  treaty  must  be  cancelled.  Gladstone  responded  in 
a  like  spirit,  acknowledging  Disraeli's  patriotic  and  discreet 
treatment  of  American  questions,  and  insisting  first  that 
the  terms  of  the  treaty  were  absolutely  clear,  and  secondly 
that  no  nation  with  any  spirit  could  submit  to  the  Ameri-' 
can  demands.  There  is  no  doubt  that  the  strong  support 
which  Disraeli  gave  to  the  Government  materially  con- 
tributed to  the  cause  of  arbitration  by  convincing  the  Ameri- 
can people  that  Great  Britain  was  in  earnest.  The  United 
States,  however,  made  it  a  point  of  honour  not  to  waive  the 
indirect  claims ;  and  the  British  Government  on  its  side  de- 
termined to  adjourn  the  arbitration  until  these  were  aban- 
doned. But  what  the  United  States  would  not  do  as  a 
Government  their  arbitrator,  Charles  Francis  Adams,  did 
for  them.  He  persuaded  his  colleagues  summarily  to  rule 
these  claims  out ;  and  the  arbitration  accordingly  proceeded. 
Disraeli  raised  himself  decidedly  in  public  estimation  by  his 
conduct  of  this  question.  It  was  seen  that  there  had  been 
serious  mismanagement  by  the  Government  to  bring  mat- 
ters to  such  a  pass,  and  that  it  was  highly  patriotic  of  Dis- 
raeli to  dwell  but  lightly  on  these  shortcomings,  and  to 
strengthen  Gladstone's  hands  at  a  critical  moment. 

In  other  respects  he  did  not  spare  the  failures  of  Min- 
isters. They  had  lived,  he  said  in  the  debate  on  the  Ad- 
dress, during  the  last  six  months  '  in  a  blaze  of  apology.' 
They  would  have  further  opportunities  for  defending  them- 

180  THE  TURN  OF  THE  TIDE  [CHAP,  v 

selves  in  the  House.  '  If  it  is  in  the  power  of  the  Gov- 
ernment to  prove  to  the  country  that  our  naval  administra- 
tion is  such  as  befits  a  great  naval  power,  they  will  soon 
have  an  occasion  for  doing  so;  and  if  they  are  desirous  of 
showing  that  one  of  the  transcendental  privileges  of  a 
strong  Government  is  to  evade  Acts  of  Parliament  which 
they  have  themselves  passed,  I  believe,  from  what  caught 
my  ear  this  evening,  that  that  opportunity  will  also  be 
furnished  them.'  The  last  sentence  referred  to  two  pieces 
of  the  Prime  Minister's  patronage,  one  legal,  the  other 
clerical,  which  required  a  good  deal  of  apology.  In  one 
case,  Sir  Robert  Collier,  the  Attorney-General,  had  been 
appointed  a  paid  member  of  the  Judicial  Committee  of  the 
Privy  Council,  although  by  statute  such  appointments  were 
limited  to  those  who  had  held  judicial  positions  in  the  su- 
perior courts.  A  technical  compliance  with  the  law  was 
effected  by  making  Collier  a  Judge  of  the  Common  Pleas 
for  a  couple  of  days.  In  the  other  case,  the  rectory  of 
Ewelme,  which  by  statute  could  only  be  held  by  a  member 
of  Oxford  Convocation,  had  been  conferred  upon  a  Cam- 
bridge graduate,  who  was  thereupon  technically  qualified 
by  being  admitted  to  an  ad  eundem  degree  at  Oxford. 
There  was  no  suggestion  in  either  case  that  an  unfit  person 
had  been  appointed;  but  the  evasion  of  the  plain  meaning 
of  the  law  was  rendered  all  the  more  flagrant  by  the  fact 
that  the  statutes  regulating  the  two  appointments  had  both 
been  passed  at  the  instance  of  Gladstone's  Government  in  the 
preceding  session  of  Parliament.  Disraeli,  who  seldom  in 
his  maturer  years  mixed  himself  up  in  personal  squabbles, 
took  no  part  in  the  angry  debates  which  were  raised  in  both 
Houses  on  these  strange  proceedings;  though  he  noted  with 
satisfaction  that  the  Collier  appointment  only  escaped  con- 
demnation in  the  Commons  by  twenty-seven  votes  —  a  num- 
ber almost  exactly  corresponding  with  the  number  of  Min- 
isters voting  —  while  in  the  Lords  the  rescue  had  to  be 
effected  by  the  Chancellor's  own  vote. 

1872]      POPULAR  ADMIRATION  FOR  DISRAELI         181 

To  Montagu  Corry. 

H.  OF  C.,  Feb.  16,  '72.—.  .  .  On  Wednesday,  the  Government 
had  not  even  made  a  whip  in  the  H.  of  C.  for  next  Monday,  and 
last  night,  the  Ministers  thinking  they  were  going  to  be  beaten 
by  a  whacking  majority,  like  damned  fools,  did  nothing  but 
abuse  the  House  of  Lords,  and  deride  their  judgment  and  in- 

The  old  Whigs,  without  an  exception  almost,  came  to  their 
rescue  on  this  occasion,  there  having  been  a  meeting  at  Brooks's 
anent,  and  either  our  men  purposely  stayed  away  from  fear  of 
disturbing  the  Ministry  or  were  shockingly  whipped,  as  is  the 
commoner  opinion:  the  abuse  of  Skelmersdale  being  very  rife. 

He  told  me,  the  day  before,  the  majority  would  be  60.  Yes- 
terday evening,  about  8  o'clock,  that  it  would  be  between  30  and 
40,  and  at  12  o'clock,  that  it  would  be  only  ten.  At  J/£  past  12 
he  was  beaten  apparently  by  two:  but  there  was  an  error  of  one 
in  the  counting,  and  the  majority  was  only  an  unit:  described 
really  by  the  Lord  Chancellor,  who  voted  for  himself!  Our 
friends  are  chapfallen,  but  for  myself,  I  think  the  affair  was 
well  enough.  .  .  . 

Disraeli's  resolute  and  ambitious,  character  was  not  the 
only  thing  with  which  the  dissatisfied  pundits  of  the  party, 
whether  colleagues,  members  of  Parliament,  or  wire-pullers, 
forgot  to  reckon;  there  was  also  the  profound  impression 
which  his  personality  had  made  among  the  British  people. 
For  the  goodwill  of  the  democracy  he  had  never  laid  him- 
self out,  even  when  enormously  extending  their  privileges. 
No  British  statesman  of  recent  years  was  ever  less  of  a 
demagogue^— With  few,  if  striking,  exceptions,  it  was  only 
in  Parliament  and  in  Bucks  that  he  opened  his  lips.  'I 
have  never  in  the  course  of  my  life,'  he  said  at  Manchester 
in  April,  '  obtruded  myself  upon  any  meeting.of  my  fellow- 
countrymen  unless  I  was  locally  connected  with  them,  or 
there  were  peculiar  circumstances  which  might  vindicate 
me  from  the  imputation  of  thrusting  myself  unnecessarily 
on  their  attention.'  But  the  admiration  and  confidence 
which  he  had  never  courted  came  to  him  spontaneously,  and 
even  for  a  while  unperceived.  Gladstone  had  been  extraor- 
dinarily popular  in  1868  with  an  electorate  which  had  been 

182  THE  TURN  OF  THE  TIDE  [CHAP,  v 

taught  to  believe  that  they  owed  to  him  that  which  they  had 
received  from  Disraeli.  His  inexhaustible  and  lofty  elo- 
quence, his  insistence  on  the  moral  law  in  politics,  the 
specious  cries  with  which  he  garnished  his  electoral  cam- 
paign, took  captive  an  inexperienced  constituency.  But 
the  constantly  destructive  nature  of  their  favourite's  ener- 
gies, his  arrogant  demeanour,  his  apparent  indifference  to 
his  country's  prestige,  the  un-English  casuistry  which  was 
inwoven  in  his  moral  texture,  and  the  inexplicable  vagaries 
of  many  of  his  colleagues,  had  alienated  public  sympathy ; 
and  that  enthusiastic  nature  of  the  English  people,  on  which 
it  was  Disraeli's  wont  to  insist,  led  them  to  seek  another 
object  for  their  trust,  as  different  as  might  be  from  him 
who  had  so  failed  them.  Disraeli  had  for  years  excited 
an  amused  curiosity  and  interest;  but  it  was  as  often  an 
interest  of  repulsion  as  of  attraction.  There  was  now  an 
awakening  to  the  fact  that  his  patience,  his  courage,  his 
genius,  his  experience,  and  his  patriotism  constituted  a 
character  round  which  popular  feeling,  disappointed  in  its 
idol,  might  safely  rally. 

The  first  outward  sign  of  this  development  of  opinion 
was  shown  in  the  autumn  of  1871,  when  the  youth  of  Liberal 
Scotland  recognised  Disraeli's  eminence  by  electing  him,  in 
preference  to  Ruskin,  as  the  Lord  Rector  of  Glasgow  Uni- 
versity. But  London  politicians,  and  probably  Disraeli 
himself,  first  realised  how  strong  was  the  popular  interest 
in  him  on  February  27,  1872,  when  the  Prince  of  Wales 
went  to  St.  Paul's  to  return  thanks  for  his  recovery  from 
typhoid  fever,  and  when  the  people  had  in  consequence  an 
unusual  opportunity  of  singling  out  its  favourites  as  they 
passed  in  succession  along  the  streets.  The  reception  of 
Gladstone  was  indifferent  or  hostile;  J  but  that  of  Disraeli 
was  so  enthusiastic  that  Sir  William  Eraser  maintains  that 
it  changed  his  destiny.  Eraser  writes : 

On  returning  from   St.   Paul's,  Disraeli  met  with   an  over- 
powering  '  ovation ' ;   I   should   say   '  triumph/    for  he   was   in 
i  See  Life  of  Dean  Church,  p.  291. 

1872]  VISIT  TO  MANCHESTER  183 

his  chariot.  This  not  only  continued  from  the  City  to  Waterloo 
Place;  but  his  carriage,  ascending  Regent  Street,  turning  to 
the  right1  along  Oxford  Street,  and  thence  back  to  the  Carlton 
Club,  the  cheers  which  greeted  him  from  all  classes  convinced 
him  that,  for  the  day  at  least,  a  more  popular  man  did  not  exist 
in  England.  Soon  after  his  return  I  happened  to  pass  into  the 
morning  room  of  the  Carlton  Club.  Disraeli  was  leaning  against 
the  table  immediately  opposite  to  the  glass  door,  wearing  the 
curious  white  coat  which  he  had  for  years  occasionally  put  on 
over  his  usual  dress.  Familiar  as  I  was  with  his  looks  and 
expression,  I  never  saw  him  with  such  a  countenance  as  he  had 
at  that  moment.  I  have  heard  it  said  by  one  who  spoke  to 
Napoleon  I.  at  Orange  in  France,  that  his  face  was  as  that  of 
one  who  looks  into  another  world :  that  is  the  only  description 
I  can  give  of  Disraeli's  look  at  the  moment  I  speak  of.  He 
seemed  more  like  a  statue  than  a  human  being:  never  before 
nor  since  have  I  seen  anything  approaching  it :  he  was  ostensibly 
listening  to  Mr.  Sclater  Booth,  now  Lord  Basing.  In  the  after- 
noon I  said  to  the  latter,  '  What  was  Disraeli  talking  about 
when  I  came  into  the  room  ? '  He  replied,  '  About  some  county 
business ;  I  wanted  his  opinion.'  I  said,  '  I  will  tell  you  what 
he  was  thinking  about:  he  was  thinking  that  he  will  be  Prime 
Minister  again ! '  I  had  no  doubt  at  the  time ;  nor  have  I  ever 
doubted  since.8  L- 

The  principal  demonstration  of  Disraeli's  popularity  with 
the  masses  and  of  the  reviving  power  of  Conservatism  was 
made  at  Manchester  at  Easter,  when  he  and  his  wife  paid 
that  visit  to  his  Lancashire  friends  which  was  so  long 
overdue.  It  was,  as  Disraeli  wrote,  a  '  wondrous  week.' 
It  opened  on  Easter  Monday  with  a  rousing  reception  by  a 
holiday  crowd  of  workers  who  promptly  extemporised  a 
human  team  to  draw  the  visitors'  carriage.  But  perhaps 
its  most  striking  feature  was  an  immense  parade  next  day, 
undaunted  by  pitiless  rain,  of  deputations  from  all  the  Con- 
servative Associations  of  the  county,  between  two  and  three 
hundred  in  number.  For  each  deputation  the  leader  had 
an  apt  word,  as  one  after  another,  with  banners  flying  and 

i '  Eight '  is  apparently  a  mistake  for  '  left.'  The  carriage  was  pre- 
sumably going  to  drop  Lady  Beaconsfield  at  Grosvenor  Gate  before 
taking  Disraeli  to  the  Carlton  Club. 

2  Fraser,  pp.  374-376. 

184  THE  TURN  OF  THE  TIDE  [CHAP,  v 

laudatory  addresses  in  their  hands,  they  defiled  before  Dis- 
raeli and  Lady  Beaconsfield,  filling  the  vast  dancing  hall 
of  the  Pomona  Gardens,  a  building  reckoned  to  hold  thirty  or 
forty  thousand  people. 

Well  might  Disraeli  be  proud  of  the  show,  as  it  was  the 
direct  result  of  his  own  labours  behind  the  scenes.  During 
these  years  of  reserve  in  opposition,  when  he  appeared  to 
colleagues  and  followers  to  be  apathetic,  he  had  been  quietly 
working  at  Conservative  reorganisation,  and  creating  a  ma- 
chine which  was  to  lead  to  the  victory  of  1874,  and  to  be 
the  forerunner  of  the  great  party  organisations  of  to-day. 
The  arrangements  for  party  management  which  he  had 
originally  made  in  the  early  fifties  with  Rose,  his  lawyer 
and  confidential  agent,  and  which  had  been  continued,  after 
Rose's  withdrawal,  with  Spofforth,  a  member  of  Rose's 
firm,  had  been  a  great  improvement  on  the  chaos  which 
existed  before  Disraeli's  accession  to  the  leadership.  But, 
even  with  the  assistance  and  supervision  of  that  shrewd  poli- 
tician the  late  Lord  Abergavenny,  and  of  a  special  commit- 
tee appointed  ad  hoc  in  1868,  they  were  wholly  insufficient, 
as  had  been  shown  in  the  last  election,  for  an  age  of  house- 
hold suffrage  and  large  popular  constituencies.  An  entirely 
new  system  must  be  set  up ;  and  Disraeli  looked  about  for  a 
young  and  ambitious  Conservative  who  would  be  ready  to  de- 
vote the  best  years  of  his  life  to  working  out  a  scheme.  His 
choice  fell  upon  John  Eldon  Gorst,1  a  barrister,  who  had 
had  a  distinguished  career  at  Cambridge,  and  had  sat  for  a 
year  or  two  in  Parliament,  but  was  now  no  longer  a  mem- 
ber. An  authentic  statement  of  what  was  done  by  Disraeli 
in  this  important  sphere  is  furnished  in  a  short  political 
life  of  him  written  by  Gorst' s  son.2  What  was  most  wanted, 
Disraeli  told  his  new  manager,  was  that  every  constituency 
should  have  a  suitable  candidate  ready  in  advance.  To 
secure  this  desirable  object  a  Central  Conservative  Office 

1  Afterwards    Sir    John    Gorst,    Q.C.,    Solicitor-General,    and    subse- 
quently Under-Secretary  for  India. 

2  See  Harold  Gorst's  Earl  of  Beaconsfield,  ch.  13. 


was  established  in  Whitehall  under  the  party  manager  and 
furnished  with  a  capable  staff.  Then  the  influential  Con- 
servatives in  each  constituency  were  persuaded  to  form  local 
associations  on  a  substantially  democratic  basis ;  the  interest 
and  co-operation  were  sought  and  obtained,  not  merely  of 
aristocratic  and  professional  and  trading  classes,  but  also 
of  the  local  artisans.  In  Lancashire,  where  several  Con- 
servative working  men's  societies  already  existed,  the  idea 
was  taken  up  with  special  enthusiasm.  Communication  was 
regularly  maintained  between  the  central  office  and  the 
provincial  associations.  The  central  office  kept  a  register 
of  approved  candidates;  but  instead  of  supplying  these  at 
its  discretion  to  the  constituencies,  it  endeavoured  to  get  the 
local  people  to  make  their  own  selection.  '  In  registering 
candidates  care  was  taken  to  note  down  their  peculiar  quali- 
fications. ...  A  constituency,  in  applying  for  a  candidate, 
was  asked  to  state  the  kind  of  man  wanted.  The  party  man- 
ager declined  to  make  the  selection  himself,  but  requested 
some  of  the  leading  men  in  the  constituency  to  come  up  and 
make  their  own  choice.  Meanwhile  a  list  of  likely  men  was 
compiled  from  the  register;  and,  if  desirable,  personal  in- 
terviews were  arranged.  By  this  means  each  place  was 
provided  with  a  candidate  suitable  to  its  political  needs.' 
Finally,  mainly  at  the  suggestion  of  Henry  Cecil  Raikes,  a 
coping  stone  was  put  on  the  edifice  by  the  affiliation  of  all 
these  Conservative  associations  to  a  comprehensive  Na- 
tional Union. 

Though,  in  entrusting  the  business  to  Gorst,  Disraeli 
left  him  a  free  hand,  he  paid  nevertheless  constant  personal 
attention  to  all  that  was  being  done,  and  was  ready  to  give 
his  manager  the  benefit  of  his  sagacity  and  experience  at 
every  stage.  And  when  the  machine  was  established  and 
was  proving  its  utility  by  the  satisfactory  results  of  the  by- 
elections  from  1871  onwards,  he  kept  a  careful  watch  on 
its  working  in  each  particular  instance.  Writing  to  a  friend 
in  October,  1873,  he  mentioned  that  'after  every  borough 
election,  an  expert  visits  the  scene  of  action,  and  prepares 

186  THE  TURN  OF  THE  TIDE  [CHAP,  v 

a  confidential  despatch  for  me,  that,  so  far  as  is  possible,  I 
may  be  thoroughly  acquainted  with  the  facts.'  One  point 
he  made  clear  from  the  outset,  as  might  be  anticipated  from 
his  insistence  on  accompanying  his  great  measure  of  Re- 
form by  a  Corrupt  Practices  Act.  He  was  resolved  that 
no  countenance  whatever  should  be  given  by  his  new  or- 
ganisation to  the  practice  on  which  both  parties  had  too  often 
relied  in  the  past,  the  winning  of  elections  by  bribery. 

Disraeli  was  thus  responsible  for  starting  the  first  great 
party  machine,  and  he  reaped  the  harvest  in  the  victory  of 
1874.  But,  though  experience  here  and  elsewhere  seems  to 
prove  that  party  organisations  are  essential  to  democratic 
government,  Disraeli's  judicious  admirers  are  hardly  likely 
to  claim  much  credit  for  him  on  the  score  of  this  feat.  As 
might  have  been  expected,  the  Liberals  bettered  the  Con- 
servative example  by  perfecting  the  Birmingham  caucus, 
and  extending  its  operations  to  the  whole  country ;  and  the 
machine  soon  became  so  highly  organised  on  both  sides  as  to 
make  increasingly  difficult  the  entry  into  the  House  of 
Commons,  and  the  continuance  there,  of  those  independent 
politicians  to  secure  whose  adhesion  it  was  necessary  for 
Governments  in  the  past  to  look  beyond  party.  Hence  there 
has  come  a  serious  decline  of  Parliamentary  control  over 
Ministers ;  and  a  great  accession  of  power  to  the  statesman 
or  the  party  committee  who  may  happen  to  have  commanded 
at  the  preceding  election  the  support  of  a  majority  in  the 

The  full  importance  of  the  parade  of  Conservative  asso- 
ciations at  Manchester  was  hardly  realised  at  the  time ;  and 
attention  was  mainly  fixed  on  the  great  meeting  on  the 
Wednesday  evening  *  in  the  Free  Trade  Hall,  where,  with 
Derby  by  his  side  and  the  numerous  Conservative  members 
for  the  county  on  the  platform,  Disraeli  spoke  to  an  enthusi- 
astic audience  with  unflagging  spirit  for  three  hours  and  a 
quarter.  In  this  effort,  so  tremendous  for  a  man  never 
very  robust  and  in  his  sixty-eighth  year,  he  was  sustained, 

i  April  3. 

1872]          IMPORTANCE  OF  THE  MONARCHY  187 

H.  C.  Raikes  tells  us,  by  two  bottles  of  white  brandy,  indis- 
tinguishable by  onlookers  from  the  water  taken,  with  it, 
which  he  drank  in  doses  of  ever-increasing  strength  till  he 
had  consumed  the  whole ! 

The  speech  was  an  answer  to  the  Liberal  taunt  that  the 
Conservatives  had  no  programme.  Their  programme,  said 
Disraeli,  was  to  maintain  the  Constitution  of  the  country, 
because  political  institutions  were  the  embodied  experience 
of  race.  It  was  the  cue  of  his  critics  to  say  that  our  great 
institutions,  such  as  the  Monarchy,  the  House  of  Lords, 
and  the  Church  were  as  dear  to  Gladstone  and  the  Liberals 
as  to  the  Conservatives,  and  so  their  defence  could  not  be 
appropriated  by  any  one  party.  But  the  left  wing  of  the 
Liberal  party  was  in  full  cry  both  against  the  Church  and 
against  the  House  of  Lords ;  and  individual  Radicals,  who 
could  not  be  dismissed  as  nobodies,  Dilke  and  Auberon 
Herbert,  were  declaiming  against  the  heavy  cost  of  Mon- 
archy, and  comparing  it  unfavourably  with  the  supposed 
cheapness  of  a  republic.  Moreover,  on  all  these  questions, 
as  Disraeli  pointed  out,  Gladstone  sent  forth  an  uncertain 
sound,  avoiding,  as  far  as  might  be,  a  distinct  breach  with 
even  extreme  followers.  On  each  of  the  three  threatened 
institutions,  Disraeli  had  something  to  say  which  arrested 
attention.  He  maintained  that  the  continuous  prosperity  of 
the  country  and  its  advance  in  civilisation  were  very  largely 
due  to  the  Throne. 

Since  the  settlement  of  [the]  Constitution,  now  nearly  two 
centuries  ago,  England  has  never  experienced  a  revolution, 
though  there  is  no  country  in  which  there  has  been  so  continu- 
ous and  such  considerable  change.  How  is  this?  Because  the 
wisdom  of  your  forefathers  placed  the  prize  of  supreme  power 
without  the  sphere  of  human  passions.  Whatever  the  struggle 
of  parties,  whatever  the  strife  of  factions,  whatever  the  excite- 
ment and  exaltation  of  the  public  mind,  there  has  always  been 
something  in  this  country  round  which  all  classes  and  parties 
could  rally,  representing  the  majesty  of  the  law,  the  administra- 
tion of  justice,  and  involving,  at  the  same  time,  the  security  for 
every  man's  rights  and  the  fountain  of  honour. 

188  THE  TURN  OF  THE  TIDE  [CHAP,  v 

Disraeli  proceeded  to  explain,  in  language  which,  though 
of  course  general,  recalled  his  speech  about  the  Queen  in 
the  autumn,  that  it  was  a  mistake  to  suppose  that  the  per- 
sonal influence  of  the  Sovereign  was  absorbed  in  the  re- 
sponsibility of  the  Minister:  and  that  such  influence  must 
increase,  the  longer  the  reign  and  the  ^greater  the  experi- 
ence of  the  Sovereign.  That,  it  may  be  added,  was  cer- 
tainly, in  the  opinion  of  competent  statesmen,  the  case  with 
Queen  Victoria,  whose  influence,  in  spite  of  the  increasing 
democratisation  of  the  country,  was  never  greater  than  in 
the  twenty  years  by  which  she  survived  her  favourite  Min- 
ister. As  to  the  cost  of  Monarchy,  Disraeli  pointed  out 
how  cheap  it  was,  compared  with  the  Continental  scale ;  and 
even  compared  with  America,  when  you  added  together  the 
salaries  of  the  Federal  Legislature  and  those  of  all  the  sover- 
eign legislatures  of  the  different  states  that  went  to  form 
that  greatest  of  republics  —  an  argument,  by  the  way, 
which  has  been  weakened  since  members  of  Parliament  here 
have  accepted  payment. 

With  regard  to  the  House  of  Lords,  experience  showed 
a  Second  Chamber  to  be  necessary ;  but  with  the  exception 
of  the  American  Senate,  composed  of  materials  not  possessed 
by  other  States,  no  other  country  had  solved  successfully 
the  problem  of  its  constitution,  whereas  the  House  of 
Lords  had  developed  historically,  and  periodically  adapted 
itself  to  the  necessities  of  the  times.  That  House  had  the 
first  quality  of  a  Second  Chamber,  independence,  based  on 
the  firmest  foundation,  responsible  property.  Would  life 
peerages  be  as  satisfactory  ?  A  peer  for  life  could  exercise 
the  power  entrusted  to  him  according  to  his  own  will ;  and 
nobody  could  call  him  to  account.  But  a  peer  whose  dig- 
nities descend  to  his  children  had  every  inducement  to  study 
public  opinion,  '  because  he  naturally  feels  that  if  the  order 
to  which  he  belongs  is  in  constant  collision  with  public 
opinion,  the  chances  are  that  his  dignities  will  not  descend 
to  his  posterity.' 

1872]  SOCIAL  REFORM  189 

There  are  some  philosophers  who  believe  that  the  best  substi- 
tute for  the  House  of  Lords  would  be  an  assembly  formed  of 
ex-Governors  of  Colonies.  .  .  .  When  the  Muse  of  Comedy  threw 
her  frolic  grace  over  society,  a  retired  governor  was  generally 
one  of  the  characters  in  every  comedy  and  the  last  of  our  great 
actors  .  .  .,  Mr.  Farren,  was  celebrated,  for  his  delineation  of 
the  character  in  question.  Whether  it  be  the  recollection  of  that 
performance  or  not,  I  confess  I  am  inclined  to  believe  that  an 
English  gentleman  —  born  to  business,  managing  his  own  estate, 
administering  the  affairs  of  his  county,  mixing  with  all  classes 
of  his  fellowmen,  now  in  the  hunting  field,  now  in  the  railway 
direction,  unaffected,  unostentatious,  proud  of  his  ancestors,  if 
they  have  contributed  to  the  greatness  of  our  common  country  — 
is,  on  the  whole,  more  likely  to  form  a  senator  agreeable  to 
English  opinion  and  English  taste  than  any  substitute  that  has 
yet  been  produced. 

Disraeli's  defence  of  the  Church  followed  the  lines  which 
he  had  adopted  in  the  sixties.  He  dwelt  on  the  vital  im- 
portance of  connecting  authority  with  religion,  and  main- 
tained that  ^to  have  secured  a  national  profession  of  faith 
with  the  unlimited  enjoyment  of  private  judgment  in  mat- 
ters spiritual  is  the  solution  of  the  most  difficult  problem, 
and  one  of  the  triumphs,  of  civilisation.'  As  a  practical 
answer  to  the  disestablishers  he  pointed  out  how  powerfully 
and  highly  organised  and  wealthy  a  corporation  the  Church 
was,  and  must  remain,  whatever  the  conditions  of  dises- 
tablishment; and  asked  whether  the  severance  of  the  con- 
trolling tie  which  bound  such  a  body  to  the  State  could  be 
favourable  to  the  cause  of  civil  and  religious  liberty.  He 
had  a  great  respect  for  the  Nonconformists,  and  expressed 
his  mortification  that,  from  a  feeling  of  envy  or  pique,  they 
should  have  become  the  partisans  of  secular  education,  in- 
stead of  working  with  the  Church  for  religious  education, 
which  was  '  demanded  by  the  nation  generally  and  by  the 
instincts  of  human  nature.' 

While  expressing  his  belief  that  the  working  classes  both 
in  town  and  country  had  shared  in  that  advance  of  national 
prosperity  which  had  been  favoured  by  the  stability  of 

190  THE  TURK  OF  THE  TIDE  [CHAP,  v 

our  political  institutions,  he  pointed  to  social  reform  as 
a  sphere  in  which  no  inconsiderable  results  might  be  ob- 
tained, and  gave  his  party  a  famous  catchword. 

A  great  scholar  and  a  great  wit,  300  years  ago,  said  that,  in 
his  opinion,  there  was  a  great  mistake  in  the  Vulgate,  which 
as  you  all  know  is  the  Latin  translation  of  the  Holy  Scriptures, 
and  that,  instead  of  saying  '  Vanity  of  vanities,  all  is  vanity ' 
—  Vanitas  vaniiaiutn,,  omnia  vanitas  —  the  wise  and  witty  King 
really  said,  Sanitas  sanitatum,  omnia  sanitas*  Gentlemen,  it 
is  impossible  to  overrate  the  importance  of  the  subject.  After 
all,  the  first  consideration  of  a  Minister  should  be  the  health 
of  the  people. 

So  far  Disraeli's  discourse  had  been  rather  a  constitu- 
tional lecture  2  than  a  party  speech.  But  now  he  turned 
on  the  Government  and  in  biting  words  summed  up  the  pith 
of  his  charges  against  their  proceedings.  It  was  an  Ad- 
ministration avowedly  formed  on  a  principle  of  violence. 
Their  specific  for  the  peace  and  prosperity  of  Ireland  was 
to  despoil  churches  and  plunder  landlords,  with  the  result 
of  sedition  rampant,  treason  thinly  veiled,  and  the  steady 
return  to  Parliament  of  Home  Rulers  '  pledged  to  the  dis- 
ruption of  the  realm.'  '  Her  Majesty's  new  Ministers  pro- 
ceeded in  their  career  like  a  body  of  men  under  the  influ- 
ence of  some  deleterious  drug.  Not  satiated  with  the  spoli- 
ation and  anarchy  of  Ireland,  they  began  to  attack  every  in- 
stitution and  every  interest,  every  class  and  calling  in  the 
country.'  After  giving  some  instances  he  proceeded  in  a 
passage  which  Lord  Morley  calls  '  one  of  the  few  pieces  of 
classic  oratory  of  the  century.' 

As  time  advanced  it  was  not  difficult  to  perceive  that  extrava- 
gance was  being  substituted  for  energy  hy  the  Government. 
The  unnatural  stimulus  was  subsiding.  Their  paroxysms  ended 
in  prostration.  Some  took  refuge  in  melancholy,  and  their 
eminent  chief  alternated  between  a  menace  and  a  sigh.  As  I 

1  Disraeli  had  given  this  watchword  of  Sanitas,  etc.,  at  Aylesbury 
on  September  21,  1864,  without  much  notice  being  taken  of  it. 

2  Cairns,  in  congratulating  Disraeli  on  the  speech,  wrote:     'It  will 
live  and  be  read,  not  only  for  its  sparkling  vigour,  but  also  for  the  deep 
strata  of  constitutional  thought  and  reasoning  which  pervade  it.' 


sat  opposite  the  Treasury  Bench  the  Ministers  reminded  me  of 
one  of  those  marine  landscapes  not  very  unusual  on  the  coasts 
of  South  America.  You  behold  a  range  of  exhausted  volcanoes. 
Not  a  flame  flickers  on  a  single  pallid  crest.  But  the  situation 
is  still  dangerous.  There  are  occasional  earthquakes,  and  ever 
and  anon  the  dark  rumbling  of  the  sea. 

Before  concluding,  Disraeli  turned  to  foreign  affairs, 
prefacing  what  he  had  to  say  with  a  few  introductory  sen- 
tences whose  truth  will  be  more  generally  acknowledged 
now  than  they  were  in  the  early  seventies,  in  spite  of  the 
then  recent  lesson  of  the  Franco-German  War. 

I  know  the  difficulty  of  addressing  a  body  of  Englishmen  on 
these  topics.  The  very  phrase  '  foreign  affairs '  makes  an  Eng- 
lishman convinced  that  I  am  about  to  treat  of  subjects  with 
which  he  has  no  concern.  Unhappily  the  relations  of  England 
with  the  rest  of  the  world,  which  are  '  foreign  affairs/  are  the 
matters  which  most  influence  his  lot.  Upon  them  depends  the 
increase  or  reduction  of  taxation.  Upon  them  depends  the 
enjoyment  or  the  embarrassment  of  his  industry.  And  yet, 
though  so  momentous  are  the  consequences  of  the  mismanage- 
ment of  our  foreign  relations,  no  one  thinks  of  them  till  the 
mischief  occurs,  and  then  it  is  found  how  the  most  vital  conse- 
quences have  been  occasioned  by  mere  inadvertence. 

Disraeli  proceeded  to  condemn  the  weakness  of  the  Gov- 
ernment in  its  dealings  with  Russia  over  the  Black  Sea,  and 
its  negligence  and  blundering  in  regard  to  the  difficulties 
with  the  United  States  over  the  indirect  claims;  and  he 
finished  on  the  imperial  note. 

Doix't  suppose,  because  I  counsel  firmness  and  decision  at  the 
right  moment,  that  I  am  of  that  school  of  statesmen  who  are 
favourable  to  a  turbulent  and  aggressive  diplomacy.  I  have 
resisted  it  during  a  great  part  of  my  life.  I  am  not  unaware  that 
the  relations  of  England  to  Europe  have  undergone  a  vast  change 
during  the  century  that  has  just  elapsed.  The  relations  of 
England  to  Europe  are  not  the  same  as  they  were  in  the  days 
of  Lord  Chatham  or  Frederick  the  Great.  The  Queen  of  Eng- 
land has  become  the  Sovereign  of  the  most  powerful  of  Oriental 
States.  On  the  other  side  of  the  globe  there  are  new  establish- 
ments belonging  to  her,  teeming  with  wealth  and  population, 

192  THE  TURN  OF  THE  TIDE  [CHAP,  v 

which  will,  in  due  time,  exercise  their  influence  over  the  distribu- 
tion of  power.  The  old  establishments  of  this  country,  now 
the  United  States  of  America,  throw  their  lengthening  shades 
over  the  Atlantic,  which  mix  with  European  waters.  These  are 
vast  and  novel  elements  in  the  distribution  of  power.  I  ac- 
knowledge that  the  policy  of  England  with  respect  to  Europe 
should  be  a  policy  of  reserve,  but  proud  reserve;  and  in  answer 
to  those  statesmen,  those  mistaken  statesmen,  who  have  inti- 
mated the  decay  of  the  power  of  England  and  the  decline  of  her 
resources,  I  express  here  my  confident  conviction  that  there  never 
was  a  moment  in  our  history  when  the  power  of  England  was 
so  great  and  her  resources  so  vast  and  inexhaustible.  And  yet, 
gentlemen,  it  is  not  merely  our  fleets  and  armies,  our  powerful 
artillery,  our  accumulated  capital,  and  our  unlimited  credit  on 
which  I  so  much  depend,  as  upon  that  unbroken  spirit  of  her 
people,  which  I  believe  was  never  prouder  of  the  Imperial  country 
to  which  they  belong. 

The  speech  and  the  Manchester  reception  at  once  placed 
Disraeli's  leadership  beyond  question,  and  proved  the  re- 
ality of  Conservative  reaction.  Sidonia's  familiar  words 
— '  The  age  of  ruins  is  past.  Have  you  seen  Manchester  ? ' 
—  had  acquired  a  fresh  significance.  That  Conservatism 
should  have  taken  such  a  hold  of  Lancashire  and  that  Man- 
chester should  welcome  Disraeli  with  such  enthusiasm  was 
indeed  a  portent.  There  was  no  more  industrial  district  in 
England,  and  none  where  the  working  man  was  more  in- 
dependent. Manchester  was  the  home  of  Free  Trade, 
and  the  hall  in  which  Disraeli  spoke  was  the  favourite  plat- 
form of  Cobden  and  Bright  during  the  struggle  against  the 
Corn  Laws.  Lancashire  was  the  native  county  of  both  Glad- 
stone and  Bright,  the  pillars  of  Liberalism  at  this  period; 
and  Gladstone,  by  political  progresses  through  its  towns  in 
the  sixties,  had  made  an  impassioned  bid  for  its  support. 
Both  Gladstone  and  Bright  had  sat  for  awhile  for  Lancashire 
seats ;  but  both  had  been  defeated  and  gone  elsewhere.  The 
great  territorial  Conservative  influence  in  Lancashire  was 
that  of  the  house  of  Stanley,  whose  present  head  was  desig- 
nated by  the  discontented  as  Disraeli's  supplanter.  But 
even  in  Lancashire  Derby  was  ready  to  yield  Disraeli  place, 

1872]         MANCHESTER  TO  CRYSTAL  PALACE  193 

to  speak  of  him  not  merely  as  his  '  old  political  colleague ' 
and  '  a  personal  friend  of  more  than  twenty  years'  standing,' 
but  as  his  '  chief/  and  to  bear  striking  testimony  to  his 
high  qualities.  '  Few  leaders  of  men  have  ever  been  more 
successful  in  securing  the  personal  confidence  and  sym- 
pathy and  goodwill  of  those  with  whom  they  act,  and  no  one 
has  ever  shown  himself  more  faithful  both  to  the  obliga- 
tion of  private  friendship  and  to  the  honourable  tie  of  party 
connection.'  Another  passage  in  Derby's  speech  at  the 
meeting  in  the  Free  Trade  Hall  showed  that  the  Conserva- 
tive leaders  were  determined  not  to  snatch  prematurely 
at  power,  but  to  wait  till  the  disgust  of  the  country  with 
Gladstonian  policy  was  complete.  It  might  be  the  tactics 
of  the  Radical  party  to  put  a  Conservative  Government  in 
office  in  a  minority ;  '  but  just  because  it  is  their  game  it 
ought  not  to  be  ours.'  The  course  which  Disraeli  took 
when  Gladstone  resigned  over  his  defeat  in  the  following 
spring  on  the  Irish  University  Bill  was  clearly  foreshadowed 
in  this  sagacious  advice. 

To  W.  Romaine  Callender,  jun.1 

GROSVENOR  GATE,  April  6,  1872. —  I  am  sure  you  and  kind  Mrs. 
Callender  will  be  glad  to  hear  of  our  safe  and  agreeable  arrival 
at  Grosvenor  Gate;  cheered,  as  far  as  the  Potteries,  by  your 
enthusiastic  population,  which  calmed,  by  degrees,  as  we  entered 
less  busy  lands,  and  which,  when  we  traversed  my  own  country, 
was  as  still  as  became  a  true  prophet. 

One  is  little  disposed  to  do  anything  to-day,  but  it  is  impos- 
sible to  refrain  expressing  to  you  our  sense  of  all  your  kindness, 
delicate  attentions,  and  munificent  hospitality. 

We  have  talked  of  them  ever  since,  and  shall  often  do  so ;  and, 
from  all  I  hear,  this  wondrous  week  will  have  no  ordinary  in- 
fluence on  public  opinion  and  future  history.  .  .  . 

Disraeli  took  another  opportunity  in  June  to  review 
and  inspirit  his  new  party  machine  and  to  elaborate  the 

1  Disraeli's  host  at  Manchester  and  chairman  of  the  Free  Trade  Hall 
meeting.  He  won  a  seat  at  Manchester  in  1874,  was  selected  by  Dis- 
raeli to  second  the  Address,  and  was  offered  by  him  a  baronetcy  at 
the  close  of  1875;  but  he  died,  prematurely,  early  in  1876,  before  the 
baronetcy  had  been  gazetted. 

194  THE  TURN  OF  THE  TIDE  [CHAP,  v 

policy  which  he  proposed  to  the  country.  This  time  the 
body  which  he  addressed  was  the  National  Union,  the 
central  society  to  which  the  Conservative  and  Constitutional 
associations  throughout  the  country  were  affiliated.  Speak- 
ing, on  June  24,  to  this  representative  audience  at  a  banquet 
at  the  Crystal  Palace  he  laid  it  down  that  the  Tory  party 
had  three  great  objects :  to  maintain  our  institutions,  to  up- 
hold the  Empire,  and  to  elevate  the  condition  of  the  people. 
On  the  first  he  had  dwelt  at  considerable  length  at  Man- 
chester, and  he  added  little  that  was  fresh  at  the  Crystal 
Palace.  With  regard  to  social  reform,  Liberals  had  scoffed 
at  his  proposals  as  a  '  policy  of  sewage ' ;  but  to  a  working 
man,  Disraeli  maintained,  it  was  a  policy  of  life  and  death. 
It  was,  he  said,  a  large  subject,  with  many  branches. 

It  involves  the  state  of  the  dwellings  of  the  people,  the  moral 
consequences  of  which  are  not  less  considerable  than  the  physi- 
cal. It  involves  their  enjoyment  of  some  of  the  chief  elements 
of  nature  —  air,  light,  and  water.  It  involves  the  regulation 
of  their  industry,  the  inspection  of  their  toil.  It  involves  the 
purity  of  their  provisions,  and  it  touches  upon  all  the  means  by 
which  you  may  wean  them  from  habits  of  excess  and  of  brutality. 

But  the  part  of  his  speech  which  struck  the  highest  note 
was  that  which  associated  Conservatism  with  the  main- 
tenance of  Empire.  His  Reform  Act  of  1867,  he  said,  was 
founded  on  the  confidence  that  the  great  body  of  the  people 
were  conservative  in  the  purest  and  loftiest  sense;  that  the 
working  classes  were  proud  of  belonging  to  a  great  country, 
and  wished  to  maintain  its  greatness ;  that  they  were  proud 
of  belonging  to  an  Imperial  country,  and  resolved  to  main- 
tain their  Empire.  What  was  the  record  of  Liberalism 
in  regard  to  Empire,  and  what  ought  to  be  Conservative 
policy  ? 

If  you  look  to  the  history  of  this  country  since  the  advent  of 
Liberalism  —  forty  years  ago  —  you  will  find  that  there  has  been 
no  effort  so  continuous,  so  subtle,  supported  by  so  much  energy, 
and  carried  on  with  so  much  ability  and  acumen,  as  the  attempts 
of  Liberalism  to  effect  the  disintegration  of  the  Empire  of  Eng- 


land.  And,  gentlemen,  of  all  its  efforts,  this  is  the  one  which 
has  been  the  nearest  to  success.  Statesmen  of  the  highest  char- 
acter, writers  of  the  most  distinguished  ability,  the  most  organ- 
ised and  efficient  means,  have  been  employed  in  this  endeavour. 
It  has  been  proved  to  all  of  us  that  we  have  lost  money  by  our 
Colonies.  It  has  been  shown  with  precise,  with  mathematical 
demonstration,  that  there  never  was  a  jewel  in  the  Crown  of 
England  that  was  so  truly  costly  as  the  possession  of  India. 
How  often  has  it  been  suggested  that  we  should  at  once  emanci- 
pate ourselves  from  this  incubus!  Well,  that  result  was  nearly 
accomplished.  When  those  subtle  views  were  adopted  by  the 
country  under  the  plausible  plea  of  granting  self-government 
to  the  Colonies,  I  confess  that  I  myself  thought  that  the  tie  was 
broken.  Not  that  I  for  one  object  to  self-government;  I  cannot 
conceive  how  our  distant  Colonies  can  have  their  affairs  ad- 
ministered except  by  self-government. 

But  self-government,  in  my  opinion,  when  it  was  conceded, 
ought  to  have  been  conceded  as  part  of  a  great  policy  of  Imperial 
consolidation.  It  ought  to  have  been  accompanied  by  an  Im- 
perial tariff,  by  securities  for  the  people  of  England  for  the 
enjoyment  of  the  unappropriated  lands  which  belonged  to  the 
Sovereign  as  their  trustee,  and  by  a  military  code  which  should 
have  precisely  defined  the  means  and  the  responsibilities  by  which 
the  Colonies  should  be  defended,  and  by  which,  if  necessary, 
this  country  should  call  for  aid  from  the  Colonies  themselves. 
It  ought,  further,  to  have  been  accompanied  by  the  institution 
of  some  representative  council  in  the  metropolft,  which  would 
have  brought  the  Colonies  into  constant  and  continuous  relations 
with  the  Home  Government.  All  this,  however,  was  omitted  be- 
cause those  who  advised  that  policy  —  and  I  believe  their  con- 
victions were  sincere  —  looked  upon  the  Colonies  of  England, 
looked  even  upon  our  connection  with  India,  as  a  burden  upon 
this  country;  viewing  everything  in  a  financial  aspect,  and 
totally  passing  by  those  moral  and  political  considerations  which 
make  nations  great,  and  by  the  influence  of  which  alone  men  are 
distinguished  from  animals. 

Well,  what  has  been  the  result  of  this  attempt  during  the  reign 
of  Liberalism  for  the  disintegration  of  the  Empire?  It  has 
entirely  failed.  But  how  has  it  failed?  Through  the  sympathy 
of  the  Colonies  for  the  Mother  Country.  They  have  decided 
that  the  Empire  shall  not  be  destroyed;  and  in  my  opinion  no 
Minister  in  this  country  will  do  his  duty  who  neglects  any  oppor- 
tunity of  reconstructing  as  much  as  possible  our  Colonial 
Empire,  and  of  responding  to  those  distant  sympathies  which 

196  THE  TURN  OF  THE  TIDE  [CHAP,  v 

may  become  the  source  of  incalculable  strength  and  happiness 
to  this  land. 

That  is  the  famous  declaration  from  which  the  modern 
conception  of  the  British  Empire  largely  takes  its  rise.  In 
it  Disraeli  struck  a  chord  that  immediately  echoed  round  the 
Colonies,  India,  and  the  Dependencies;  and  the  reverbera- 
tion has  never  ceased.  The  time  could  not  be  far  dis- 
tant, he  prophetically  told  his  hearers,  when  England  would 
have  to  decide  between  national  and  cosmopolitan  principles. 
In  their  fight  against  Liberalism  or  the  Continental  system 
Conservatives  would  have  against  them  those  who  had  en- 
joyed power  for  nearly  half  a  century;  but  still  they  could 
rely,  he  said  in  sonorous  Disraelian  language,  on  '  the  sub- 
lime instincts  of  an  ancient  people.' 

The  issue  is  not  a  mean  one.  It  is  whether  you  will  be  content 
to  be  a  comfortable  England,  modelled  and  moulded  upon  Con- 
tinental principles  and  meeting  in  due  course  an  inevitable  fate, 
or  whether  you  will  be  a  great  country,  an  Imperial  country,  a 
country  where  your  sons,  when  they  rise,  rise  to  paramount 
positions,  and  obtain  not  merely  the  esteem  of  their  countrymen, 
but  command  the  respect  of  the  world. 

Lord  Morley  remarks  of  Disraeli's  watchwords  of  Em- 
pire and  Social  Reform,  that  *  when  power  fell  into  his  hands 
he  made  no  single  move  of  solid  effect  for  either  social  re- 
form or  imperial  unity/  1  whereas  it  was  Gladstone's  wont 
to  embody  policy  in  Parliamentary  Bills.  The  statement 
is  very  far  from  being  accurate,  and  subsequent  chapters 
of  this  biography  will  show  what  a  material  contribution 
both  to  social  welfare  and  to  imperial  consolidation  was  made 
by  the  Beaconsfield  Government  of  1874.  But  it  is,  of 
course,  true  that  many  of  Disraeli's  most  fertile  ideas  did 
not  issue  in  Bills;  and  as  a  practical  politician  he  must  in 
this  respect  yield  place  to  Gladstone.  It  is,  however,  pre- 
cisely the  fact  that  Gladstone  seldom  or  never  played  with 
political  ideas  which  could  not  be  enclosed  within  the  com- 
pass of  a  Bill  that  marks  his  inferiority  as  a  statesman  and 
i  Gladstone,  Bk.  VI.,  ch.  8. 


explains  his  diminishing  hold  on  the  present  generation; 
and  it  is  precisely  the  fact  that  Disraeli  did  allow  his  mind 
such  free  play  that  is  his  greatest  praise  in  our  eyes  and  that 
will  insure  his  fame  with  those  who  come  after  us. 

Between  Manchester  and  the  Crystal  Palace  Disraeli 
had  another  proof  of  his  growing  popularity.  He  attended, 
along  with  a  crowd  of  distinguished  personages,  the  Literary 
Fund  dinner,  in  order  to  support  a  reigning  Sovereign  in 
the  chair,  Leopold  II.,  King  of  the  Belgians.  Writing  to 
Corry  a  day  or  two  afterwards,  he  said :  '  The  demon- 
stration at  the  Literary  Fund  meeting  was  equal  to  Man- 
chester. The  mob  consisting  of  Princes,  Ainbassadors, 
wits,  artists  —  and  critics !  '  His  speech  in  proposing  the 
King's  health  was  one  of  his  happiest.  It  was  a  charming 
and  delightful  inconsistency,  he  said,  that  the  republic  of 
letters  should  be  presided  over  by  a  monarch;  let  them 
meet  it  by  an  inconsistency  as  amiably  flagrant,  and  give 
their  Sovereign  Chairman  a  right  royal  welcome.  Hia 
description  of  Belgium,  and  of  the  policy  which  guaranteed 
its  independence  and  neutrality,  has  a  special  interest  to- 

Forty  years  ago  a  portion  of  Europe,  and  one  not  the  least 
fair,  seemed  doomed  by  an  inexorable  fate  to  permanent  depend- 
ence and  periodical  devastation.  And  yet  the  condition  of  that 
country  were  favorable  to  civilisation  and  human  happiness;  a 
fertile  soil  skillfully  cultivated,  a  land  covered  with  beautiful 
cities  and  occupied  by  a  race  prone  alike  to  liberty  and  religion, 
and  always  excelling  in  the  fine  arts.  In  the  midst  of  a  European 
convulsion,  a  great  statesman  resolved  to  terminate  that  deplor- 
able destiny,  and  conceived  the  idea  of  establishing  the  inde- 
pendence of  Belgium  on  the  principle  of  political  neutrality. 
The  idea  was  welcomed  at  first  with  sceptical  contempt.  But 
we  who  live  in  the  after  generation  can  bear  witness  to  its 
triumphant  success,  and  can  take  the  opportunity  of  congratu- 
lating that  noble  policy  which  consecrated  to  perpetual  peace  the 
battlefield  of  Europe. 

Disraeli's  political  activities  in  this  spring  of  1872  were 
almost  entirely  confined  to  his  two  great  extra-Parliamentary 

198  THE  TURN  OF  THE  TIDE  [CHAP,  v 

appearances.  He  was  much  shocked  in  February  to  re- 
ceive the  news  of  the  murder  of  his  friend  Mayo,  the  Viceroy 
of  India,  in  the  Andaman  Islands. 

To  Lady  Beaconsfield. 

Feb.  12,  '72. —  Horrible  news  from  India!  Lord  Mayo  assas- 
sinated and  dead!  The  enclosed  telegram  is  from  Robert 
Bourke ! 

Shall  be  home  pretty  early. 

Quite  shaken  to  the  centre.  Gladstone  announced  it:  I  said 
a  few  words. 

'  G.  GATE,  April  26,  '72. —  Last  night  was  very  damaging  to  the 
Government : 1  a  family  quarrel,  in  which  we  did  not  interfere, 
except  on  the  part  of  Ball,  who  could  scarcely  be  silent.  Bou- 
verie  in  fierce  opposition;  and  though  the  affair  ended  without 
a  vote,  as  was  inevitable,  the  Government  most  unnecessarily 
blundered  into  a  signal  defeat  at  the  end  of  the  night.  .  .  . 

May  7. —  Last  night  the  Government  received  a  great,  and 
unexpected,  blow :  Gordon's  resolution  2  having  been  carried  to 
the  surprise  of  both  sides!  The  cheering  exceeded  even  that  on 
the  Ballot  Clause.  .  .  . 

To  Lord  Derby. 

GROSVENOR  GATE,  May  3,  1872. —  My  suggestion  of  identical 
subscriptions  from  [Mayo's]  colleagues  found  no  favor.  It  was 
thought  to  be  an  idea,  perhaps,  suited  to  colleagues  in  a  Ministry, 
who  then  can  frame  a  tariff  according  to  their  salaries,  but  was 
not  deemed  applicable  to  existing  circumstances.  Our  late 
colleagues  are  like  Martial's  epigrams:  some  rich,  some  poor, 
some  moderate,  so  they  prefer  subscribing  according  to  their 
means,  or  their  inclination.  .  .  . 

The  ballot  was  again  seriously  damaged  in  Ho.  of  Comm. 
last  night,  and  we  supported  the  Govt.  and  the  Whigs  against 
an  infuriated  Mountain.  .  .  .^ 

The  Ballot  Bill  was  the  main  occupation  of  the  session; 
and  as  Disraeli's  object,  in  view  of  divided  opinions  in  his 
party,  was  to  get  the  question  settled,  he  maintained  a 
rigorous  silence  while  it  was  running  a  troubled  course 

1  A  debate  on  a  University  Tests  (Dublin)  Bill,  in  which  independent 
Liberals  like  Fawcett,  Playfair,  and  Bouverie  strongly  attacked  the 

2  On  the  Scottish  Education  Bill.     The  Government  was  defeated  by 
7;  216  to  209. 

1872]  BALLOT  BILL  199 

through  the  House.  His  policy  was  to  take  care  that  the 
Liberals  should  not  have  a  popular  grievance  to  exploit,  a 
popular  cry  on  which  to  dissolve,  either  through  the  failure 
of  the  Bill  in  the  Commons  owing  to  Tory  obstruction  or 
through  its  rejection  on  second  reading  by  the  Lords.  But 
he  hoped  that  amendments  making  the  Bill  optional  would 
be  secured  in  the  Lords  by  the  pressure  of  a  unanimous 
Tory  party  aided  by  Kussell  and  the  old  Whigs.  This 
programme  was  duly  carried  out,  and  when  the  Bill  was 
returned  amended  to  the  Commons  Disraeli  broke  his  silence 
to  defend  the  fantastic  plan  of  optional  secrecy.  But  the 
Commons  would  have  none  of  it;  and  in  the  Lords,  the 
Duke  of  Northumberland,  at  the  head  of  a  body  of  inde- 
pendent Conservatives,  averted  a  struggle  between  the  two 
Houses  by  supporting  the  motion  not  to  insist  upon  the 
amendment.  Disraeli  was  rather  put  out  at  the  way  in 
which  the  matter  had  been  bungled. 

To  Lord  Derby. 

GROSVENOR  GATE,  June  20,  1872. —  I  was  in  hopes  I  might  have 
met  you  somewhere  yesterday,  and  had  a  few  minutes'  conver- 
sation with  you  re  Ballot  Bill  (H.  of  Lords)  wh.  seems  to  me 
in  an  unsatisfactory  position. 

When  the  Duke  of  Richmond  called  on  me  to  confer  on  his 
alternative  propositions  —  to  throw  out  the  Bill  on  the  2nd 
reading,  or  to  make  it  permissive  in  Committee,  I  assented  to 
the  latter  scheme  on  the  very  distinct  conditions  that  it  shd.  be 
sanctioned  by  the  unanimous  assent  of  the  party,  and  especially 
of  yourself.  The  Duke  subsequently  wrote  to  me,  that  he  had 
conferred  with  you,  Ld.  Salisbury,  and  others,  and  that  you  had 
unanimously  adopted  the  latter  scheme. 

But  it  seems  there  must  have  been  some  terrible  mistake  on 
this  head,  as  I  observe  you  did  not  vote  on  the  occasion,  and 
it  is  now  rumored,  that  you  disapprove  of  the  proposal. 

Unless  the  Duke  is  supported,  the  Ballot  Bill  will  pass,  wh. 
neither  the  House  of  Comm.  nor  the  country  desire.  It  is  im- 
possible for  the  Duke  to  recede  from  his  position ;  it  would  make 
him  ridiculous  and  totally  unable  in  future  to  pretend  to  control 
affairs.  Lord  Russell  sanctioned  the  move,  and  still  is  of  opinion, 
that  we  shd.  not  recede  from  the  ground  we  have,  after  delibera- 
tion, occupied.  Whether  the  Duke  is  beaten  or  not,  his  character 

200  THE  TURN  OF  THE  TIDE  [CHAP,  v 

and  the  repute  of  the  party  demand  that  he  shall  be  firm.  All 
that  important  and  influential  section  who  were  in  favor  of 
throwing  out  the  Bill  on  the  2nd  reading,  at  least  on  our  side, 
would  be  outraged,  if  there  were  any  transaction  or  compromise, 
wh.  secured  the  virtual  passing  of  the  Government  measure. 

I  hope,  therefore,  you  will  gravely  consider  these  critical  cir- 
cumstances, for,  tho'  the  Duke  of  Richmond,  publicly  and 
privately,  must  make  every  effort  to  rally  his  forces  for  the 
occasion,  there  is  no  doubt  those  exertions  will  be  considerably 
neutralised  if  you  are  the  avowed  opponent  of  his  proceedings. 

July  12. —  Thanks  for  your  letter,  wh.  is  full  of  good  stuff ; 
I.  think  we  may  raise  a  flame,  wh.  will  well  occupy  the  lieges 
during  the  recess,  and  sustain  the  unpopularity  of  the  Ministry. 

The  ballot  in  your  house  was  a  sad  business.  Nothing  but 
unanimity  could  justify  our  course.  I  think  it  was  the  right 
one,  and  that  throwing  out  the  Bill  on  the  second  reading  (even 
if  it  cd.  be  done)  would  have  raised  an  agitation  against 
the  House  of  Lords  on  the  ground  of  their  purely  obstructive 

The  Duke  of  Northumberland  shd.  be  asked  why,  after  having 
attended  the  two  meetings  at  D.  of  Richmond's  in  silence, 
interpreted  as  assent,  he  shd.  have  led  the  defection?  Had  he 
spoken  out  at  the  meetings  and  been  supported,  the  course  might 
have  been  changed. 

The  truth  is,  I  fancy,  he,  and  his  following,  and  all  others, 
were  satisfied  enough  at  the  time,  but  got  frightened  afterwards 
by  the  articles  in  The  Times,  wh.  laughed  at  them  the  next  day 
for  their  pains. 

However,  the  mischief  is  done,  and  our  only  consolation  must 
be,  that  the  Government  wh.  first  appeals  to  the  country  on 
the  secret  suffrage,  will,  in  all  probability,  be  cashiered. 

One  serious  rebuff  which  the  Government  received  in 
this  session  must  have  given  Disraeli  peculiar  satisfaction. 
When  he  had  assumed  the  leadership  in  the  spring  of  1849 
he  had  made  it  his  principal  object  to  endeavour  to  convince 
Parliament  of  the  injustice  suffered  by  the  landed  interest 
in  having  charged  upon  it  the  whole  of  the  local  rates. 
Kates,  he  had  pointed  out,  were  raised  for  national  as  well 
as  for  local  objects,  and  benefited  the  whole  community  and 
not  merely  the  owners  and  occupiers  of  real  property.  Now 
that  the  State  had  withdrawn  protection  from  the  landed 

1872-1873]  RATING  REFORM  201 

interest,  they  had  a  right,  he  had  argued,  to  have  this  in- 
justice redressed.  The  argument  impressed  the  House  at 
the  time,  and  the  majorities  against  Disraeli's  motions  be- 
came smaller  with  succeeding  years.  But  little  or  nothing 
had  been  actually  done  in  this  direction  in  Parliaments 
where  Disraeli  never  had  a  majority;  and  fresh  charges 
had  been  constantly  put  upon  the  rates,  while  the  actual 
administration  was  largely  withdrawn  from  local  control. 
Sir  Massey  Lopes,  a  substantial  county  member  who  had 
made  a  special  study  of  the  question,  carried  this  session 
against  the  Government,  by  a  majority  of  no  less  than  a 
hundred,  a  motion  that  £2,000,000  worth  of  these  charges, 
dealing  with  the  administration  of  justice,  police,  and  luna- 
tics, should  be  placed  on  the  Consolidated  Fund.  Disraeli 
strongly  urged  that  the  reform  was  five  and  twenty  years 
overdue,  while  the  burdens  on  real  property  had  greatly 
increased,  and,  with  the  urgent  claims  of  public  education 
and  public  health,  must  increase  still  further.  In  spite  of 
the  adverse  vote,  the  Government  shirked  their  respon- 
sibility; accordingly,  the  relief  which  Disraeli  had  pleaded 
for  in  his  first  days  of  leadership  he  was  himself  to  be  the 
Minister  to  grant. 

The  Government  were  damaged  less  by  their  defeat  on 
Lopes's  motion  than  by  their  success  in  carrying  a  much- 
needed  measure,  the  Licensing  Act,  which  irritated  a  power- 
ful trade  and  interfered  with  the  habits  of  countless  in- 
dividuals. Their  unpopularity  was  increased  in  the  autumn 
by  the  blow  to  British  pride  involved  in  the  swingeing 
damages  awarded  to  the  United  States  by  the  Geneva  arbi- 
trators in  respect  of  the  Alabama  dispute.  The  loss  of 
Ministerial  seats  at  by-elections  continued.  Consequently, 
though  Disraeli,  absorbed  by  domestic  sorrow,1  did  not 
resume  his  pungent  attacks  between  the  close  of  the  1872 
session  and  the  opening  of  the  next,  Ministers  met  Parlia- 
ment in  February,  1873,  with  a  tarnished  reputation  and 
clouded  prospects,  and  promptly  received  a  stunning  blow 
i  See  below,  ch.  6. 

202  THE  TURN  OF  THE  TIDE  [CHAP,  v 

from  which  they  never  properly  recovered.  The  task  be- 
fore them  in  the  session  was  obviously  a  perilous  one. 
Gladstone,  who  had  already  carried,  with  the  full  force  of 
an  unimpaired  majority,  two  great  Irish  Bills,  was  about 
to  venture,  with  his  majority  much  less  under  control,  on 
a  third.  This  time  he  was  to  deal  with  that  University 
question  which  his  rival  had  in  hand  when  he  himself 
overtrumped  him  with  disestablishment.  Once  again  Man- 
ning was  deep  in  the  counsels  of  a  British  Premier  hopeful 
of  finding  a  solution;  and  he  was  to  mislead  Gladstone  as 
he  had  misled  Disraeli.  Disraeli's  letters  show  us  the  hopes 
and  fears  of  the  Opposition. 

To  Montagu  Corry. 

H.  OF  0.,  Feb.  10,  '73. —  Lord  Derby  on  Saturday  seemed  to 
think  a  crisis  was  at  hand,  and  rather  regretted  going  away 
(which,  by  tbe  bye,  Cairns  is  also  doing).  D.  said  'You  can 
telegraph  for  me.'  .  .  . 

Feb.  11. —  I  wrote  you  a  wretched  scrawl  yesterday  from  H.  of 
C.  in  a  miserable  state,  and  am  not  much  better  to-day. 

From  wbat  I  gathered  from  Robert  Montagu,  coached  by 
Manning,  I  should  think  Gladstone's  scheme  will  do.  I  infer 
something  like  this.  Trinity  Coll.  to  be  no  longer  a  University, 
but  to  retain  a  considerable  endowment.  The  Romans  not  to 
be  endowed.  Tbe  Peel  Colleges  to  be  abolished.  An  Examining 
Board  a/2  Catholic  and  l/z  Protestant;  but  Cath.  under-grads. 
to  be  examined  only  on  those  subjects  and  in  that  manner  the 
priesthood  approves  and,  of  course,  by  the  Cath.  moiety  of  ex- 

They  say  G.  is  to  make  the  greatest  speech  to-morrow  he  has 
yet  accomplished.  .  .  . 

Feb.  15. —  I  have  been  in  a  state  of  coma  for  the  last  few  days 
—  and  bave  been  unable  to  write.  Indeed,  it  is  only  tbe  recol- 
lection that  it  is  Saturday,  which  forces  me  to  this  feebleness. 
Everything  seems  to  have  calmed  down  again,  and  I  see  no  move- 
ment for  the  next  fortnight.  .  .  . 

I  conclude  there  will  be  no  attempt  to  oppose  the  2nd  reading 
of  the  Bill,  tbougb  there  will  be  a  considerable  debate  tbereon: 
and  in  Committee,  though  nothing  ever  succeeds  in  Committee, 
tbere  will  be  an  effort  to  establish  the  Professorships  of  Philoso- 
phy and  History,  and  perhaps  to  reconstruct  the  Governing 
Council.  . 


Feb.  18. —  There  is  to  be  a  council  at  my  rooms  on  Saturday 
re  Ir.  Univ.  Bill.  .  .  . 

Feb.  22. —  We  had  our  meeting  this  morning ;  it  was  very  long 
and  very  troublesome.  We  came  to  a  conclusion,  as  a  Home 
Ruler  has  given  notice  of  opposing  2nd  reading,  to  encourage 
and  carry  on  a  great  debate  —  for  three  nights,  if  possible,  and, 
in  th.?  course  of  it,  to  announce,  that  we  should  move  resolutions 
on  going  into  Committee. 

I  should  not  be  surprised  if  Fawcett  gives  notice  of  resolu- 
tions at  once  in  much  the  same  spirit,  speculating  on  the  Home 
Ruler  relinquishing  his  purpose.  .  .  . 

Feb.  25. — .  .  .  There  is  a  feeling  in  the  air,  that  the  3rd  branch 
of  tKe  Upas-tree  will  still  blast  Celtic  society.  As  Ball  says, 
if  the  Bill  is  got  rid  of,  no  party  in  the  country,  and  neither  side 
of  the  House,  will  ever  hear  of  the  question  again:  for,  in  fact, 
it  is  all  humbug.  .  .  . 

12,  GEORGE  ST.,  Feb.  27. —  I  had  an  interesting  letter  from  Lord 
Derby  yesterday,  anxious  about  the  Irish  Bill,  and  impressing 
upon  me,  that,  if  wanted,  he  could  be  here  in  4  and  20  hours. 
He  dined  with  Thiers,  whom  he  found  very  old,  feeble,  with  a 
cracked  voice,  but  warming  up  into  animation  as  he  talked  on; 
never  alluding  even  to  domestic  affairs,  but  expatiating  on  every 
point  of  foreign.  .  .  .  He  seemed  to  think  dissensions  must  soon 
break  out  between  Prussia  and  Bavaria,  and  repeatedly  said  that 
the  first  and,  indeed,  only  object  for  France  was  the  reorganisa- 
tion of  her  army :  '  not  that  we  wanted  war,  etc.,  but  nobody 
knew  what  might  happen,  and  we  must  be  prepared.'  .  .  . 

I  am  now  going  down  to  the  House,  walking;  as  the  air  is 
clear  and  the  wind  westerly.  .  .  . 

March  1. — .  .  .  There  is  no  news,  except  a  general  impression 
that  Gladstone  will  withdraw  his  Bill.  So  Lord  Stanhope  told 
me  this  morning  at  British  Museum:  but  I  doubt  it.  He  will 
not  like  losing  the  opportunity  of  self-vindication  in  many 

To  Gathorne  Hardy. 

Saturday,  March  8,  1873. —  I  thought  your  speech  excellent, 
and  so,  I  observe,  does  the  Spectator  to-day;  no  mean  Parlia- 
mentary critic. 

It  was  a  hard  trial  to  get  up  at  midnight,  as  I  know  from 
experience  —  but  all  the  things  you  omitted  to  say  will  come  into 
another  speech,  and  had  you  not  demonstrated,  the  effect  wd. 
have  been  most  injurious. 

I  was  very  glad  that  you  alluded  to  a  Gladstone  dissolution 

204  THE  TURN  OF  THE  TIDE  [CHAP,  v 

as  ultimately  inevitable,  and  that  you  spoke  out  to  Knightley.1 
He  belongs  to  a  clique,  who  think  we  have  no  single  object  in 
the  world  but  place  and  patronage;  little  suspecting,  that  for 
four  years  we  have,  for  the  sake  of  the  country,  and  especially 
for  the  Tory  party,  unceasingly  labored  to  prevent  a  premature 

The  fever  of  my  attack  seems  to  have  subsided,  but  I  am  very 

As  the  letters  suggest,  Gladstone's  scheme  sounded  very 
plausible  when  set  forth  by  himself  in  one  of  those  exegetical 
discourses  in  which  no  other  Parliamentarian  could  compare 
with  him;  but  it  would  not  stand  critical  examination. 
Protestant  feeling  was  offended  by  the  constitution  of  the 
governing  body  of  the  new  University,  which  was  such  that, 
in  Lord  Morley's  euphemistic  words,  '  it  did  not  make 
clerical  predominance  ultimately  impossible.'  In  spite  of 
this  prospect,  the  Irish  Bishops  were  offended  by  the  main- 
tenance of  the  principle  of  mixed  education,  in  which 
Protestant  colleges  and  students  were  to  stand  side  by  side 
with  Roman  Catholic  colleges  and  students ;  and  ultimately 
Cardinal  Cullen  refused  and  denounced  the  offer.  Those 
who  realised  what  a  University  meant  and  cared  for  the 
interests  of  higher  education,  of  whom  Fawcett  was  the 

i  Sir  Rainald  Knightley  (afterwards  Lord  Knightley),  of  Fawsley, 
M.P.  for  South  Northants,  a  squire  of  long  descent,  high  honour,  many 
prejudices,  and  some  Parliamentary  capacity,  was  an  irreconcilable 
member  of  the  anti-Disraeli  Tory  clique,  and  only  supported  the  Oppo- 
sition leaders  by  his  vote  on  this  occasion  because  he  was  satisfied 
from  Hardy's  speech  and  conversation  that  they  would  not  take  office 
till  after  a  dissolution.  A  story  which  Lady  Knightley  tells,  in  her 
Journals,  p.  240,  of  the  origin  of  her  husband's  feeling  towards  Dis- 
raeli, suggests  that  a  plentiful  lack  of  humour  had  much  to  do  with 
Tory  mistrust  of  their  witty  and  sardonic  chief.  '  I  asked  Rainald 
to-day,'  writes  Lady  Knightley  on  March  15,  1873,  '  when  he  first  began 
to  distrust  [Disraeli].  He  said,  "Very  soon  after  I  came  into  Par- 
liament, I  was  desired  by  the  Whip  to  do  all  I  could  to  get  our  men 
to  vote  against  the  Government  on  some  question  —  not  a  very  im- 
portant one  —  on  which  they  seemed  to  me  to  be  in  the  right.  How- 
ever, I  trusted  our  leader,  and  thought  he  probably  knew  more  about 
it  than  I  did,  so  I  did  as  I  was  bid.  When  we  got  into  the  lobby,  we 
found  ourselves  in  a  minority,  upon  which  Disraeli  said,  'There! 
we've  sacrificed  our  characters,  and  voted  wrong,  and  haven't  beat  the 
Government  after  all !  ' "  Comment,  I  think,'  adds  Lady  Knightley, 
'  is  superfluous.'  It  is  indeed. 

1873]  DISRAELI'S  SPEECH  205 

most  prominent  representative,  were  disgusted  by  the  pro- 
hibition of  any  University  teacher  in  theology,  modern 
history,  or  mental  and  moral  philosophy ;  and  by  the  liability 
of  all  teachers  to  suspension  or  deprivation  for  giving  offence 
to  religious  convictions.  The  impracticability  of  the  scheme 
as  it  stood  was  so  patent  that  Ministers  were  reduced  to 
endeavouring  to  obtain  support  by  suggesting  that  large 
amendments  could  be  made  in  Committee,  and  by  dwelling 
on  the  threat  that  they  would  treat  the  second  reading  as  a 
vital  matter. 

Disraeli  in  his  speech  on  the  last  night  of  the  debate 
declined  to  put  any  confidence  in  these  unconfirmed  hints 
of  Committee  amendments,  and  protested  against  the  threat 
of  resignation.  No  one  wished  to  disturb  Gladstone  in  his 
place,  but  it  was  the  duty  of  members  to  say  distinctly 
whether  they  could  approve  this  particular  measure.  It 
proposed  to  found  a  University  which  was  not  universal,  and 
in  an  age  when  young  men  prattled  about  protoplasm  and 
young  ladies  in  gilded  saloons  unconsciously  talked  atheism, 
to  prohibit  the  teaching  of  philosophy!  He  chaffed  Glad- 
stone about  the  '  anonymous  persons  '  who  were  to  consti- 
tute the  council  of  the  new  University.  He  vindicated  his 
own  policy  of  concurrent  endowment  in  1868,  a  policy  which 
had  been  steadily  pursued  by  statesmen  of  all  parties  down 
to  that  date,  but  had  then  been  killed  by  Gladstone.  '  The 
right  hon.  gentleman  says  I  burnt  my  fingers  on  that  occa- 
sion, but,'  said  Disraeli,  holding  out  his  hands  across  the 
floor  of  the  House  amid  general  amusement,  '  I  see  no  scars.' 
He  continued : 

The  right  hon.  gentleman,  suddenly  —  I  impute  no  motive, 
that  is  quite  unnecessary  —  changed  his  mind,  and  threw  over 
the  policy  of  concurrent  endowment,  mistaking  the  clamour  of 
the  Nonconformists  1  for  the  voice  of  the  nation.  The  Roman 
Catholics  fell  into  the  trap.  They  forgot  the  cause  of  Univer- 
sity education  in  the  prospect  of  destroying  the  Protestant 
Church.  The  right  hon.  gentleman  succeeded  in  his  object.  He 

i  Another  reading  has  '  the  Nonconformist ' —  the  newspaper  organ 
of  the  Dissenters. 

206  THE  TURN  OF  THE  TIDE  [CHAP,  v 

became  Prime  Minister  of  England.  .  .  .  The  Roman  Catholics 
had  the  satisfaction  of  destroying  the  Protestant  Church  —  of 
disestablishing  the  Protestant  Church.  They  had  the  satisfac- 
tion before  the  year  was  over  of  witnessing  the  disestablishment 
of  the  Roman  Catholic  Church  at  Rome.  As  certain  as  that 
we  are  in  this  House,  the  policy  that  caused  the  one  led  to  the 
other.  .  .  .  The  Roman  Catholics,  having  reduced  Ireland  to 
a  spiritual  desert,  are  discontented  and  have  a  grievance;  and 
they  come  to  Parliament  in  order  that  it  may  create  for  them  a 
blooming  Garden  of  Eden. 

And  then  Disraeli  proceeded  to  one  of  those  attacks  on 
the  general  tendency  of  Gladstonian  policy  which  were  be- 
ginning to  sink  deeply  into  the  national  mind.  Gladstone, 
he  said,  had  substituted  a  policy  of  confiscation  for  the 
policy  of  concurrent  endowment : 

You  have  had  four  years  of  it.  You  have  despoiled  churches. 
You  have  threatened  every  corporation  and  endowment  in  the 
country.  You  have  examined  into  everybody's  affairs.  You 
have  criticised  every  profession  and  vexed  every  trade.  No  one 
is  certain  of  his  property  and  nobody  knows  what  duties  he  may 
have  to  perform  to-morrow. 

Gladstone,  in  reply,  urged  Parliament  to  go  on  in  its 
work  of  bringing  justice  to  Ireland  in  spite  of  the  perverse- 
ness  of  those  whom  it  was  attempting  to  assist;  but  the 
House  realised  the  absurdity  of  proceeding  with  proposals 
repudiated  by  Catholics  as  well  as  by  Protestants.  The 
division  was  taken  after  two  o'clock  on  the  morning  of 
Wednesday,  March  12.  Ministers  were  beaten  by  3  votes, 
the  numbers  being  287  to  284.  They  had  a  small  majority 
among  the  English  members,  and  a  large  majority  among 
the  Scotch;  but  the  Irish  voted  68  to  15  against  them. 
1  The  Irish  Romans,'  wrote  Hardy  in  his  diary,  '  voted 
against  Gladstone  in  a  body,  but  it  was  utterly  wrong  of 
Gladstone  to  taunt  us,  for  our  opposition  long  preceded 
theirs,  and  there  was  no  compact  whatever.  And  now 
what  will  follow?  I  doubt  not  Gladstone  will  try  to  force 
us  in,  but  in  vain.  It  is  neither  our  duty  nor  our  interest 
to  dissolve  Parliament  for  him?  and  I  cannot  admit  the 


right  of  any  Government  to  make  any  question  they  please 
vital,  and,  if  a  combination  negatives,  to  force  upon  one 
portion  of  it  all  the  responsibility.' 

Hardy's  opinion,  thus  recorded  decisively  at  the  first 
moment  in  his  diary,  was  the  one  which  prevailed  with 
Disraeli  and  his  colleagues.  In  truth  the  situation  had 
been  anticipated;  and,  though  two  of  Disraeli's  most  im- 
portant colleagues,  Derby  and  Cairns,  were  abroad,  he  had 
ascertained  from  them  before  they  went  their  unwillingness 
to  accept  office  in  the  event  of  such  a  contingency  as  had 
occurred.  The  Beaconsfield  papers  contain  the  following 
scrap  in  Derby's  handwriting: 

If  it  is  only  contended  that  Mr.  D.  before  announcing  his 
decision,  ought  to  have  maturely  considered  the  circumstances 
and  consulted  with  his  friends,  the  answer  is  that  he  had  done 
so  already  in  anticipation  of  what  for  the  last  six  weeks  was  a 
possible  and  not  improbable  contingency. 

Hardy  and  Richmond  went  to  see  their  chief  on  the 
morrow  of  the  division,  and  there  was  an  agreement  between 
them  all  in  this  sense,  though  apparently  Disraeli's  Socratic 
method  suggested  to  Hardy  that  he  had  a  doubt  on  the 
subject.  The  upshot  of  the  talk  of  the  three  colleagues  was 
that  the  impracticability  of  office  was  so  clear  that  Disraeli 
might  decline  without  further  consultation. 

Meanwhile  there  was  some  hesitation  in  the  Ministerial 
camp,  and  it  required  a  couple  of  Cabinet  Councils,  one 
on  the  Wednesday  and  one  on  the  Thursday,  to  bring  them 
to  resignation. 

To  Lord  Beauchamp. 

Thursday,  March  13. —  I  have  had  a  good  nigbt,  except  dis- 
turbed too  much  by  my  cough,  which  must  be  again  attended  to. 
I  neglected  remedies  in  the  anarchy  of  yesterday. 

What  is  going  to  take  place?  And  what  is  the  2nd  Cabinet 
about?  Our  friend  cannot  even  resign  in  the  usual  manner,  I 
was  in  hopes  yesterday  that  the  Q.  had  not  accepted  his  resigna- 
tion as  in  my  case,  which  would  have  solved  many  knots,  and 
that  we  should  have  an  early  dissolution  on  his  part;  but  the 
ambiguous  voices  of  the  oracles  this  morning  perplex  me. 

208  THE  TURN  OF  THE  TIDE  [CHAP,  v 

The  second  Cabinet,  however,  decided  for  resignation ; 
Gladstone  saw  the  Queen  in  the  early  afternoon  of  the 
Thursday,  and  announced  the  fact  in  Parliament  at  4.30. 
Disraeli  was  stopped  in  the  lobby,  as  he  was  entering  the 
House  of  Commons,  by  a  message  from  the  Palace. 

From  Queen  Victoria. 

BUCKINGHAM  PALACE,  March  13,  1873. —  Mr.  Gladstone  has 
just  been  here  and  has  tendered  his  resignation  and  that  of  all 
his  colleagues  in  consequence  of  the  vote  of  the  House  of  Com- 
mons on  Tuesday  night  —  which  the  Queen  has  accepted.  She 
therefore  writes  to  Mr.  Disraeli  to  ask  him  whether  he  will 
undertake  to  form  a  Government. 

The  Queen  would  like  to  see  Mr.  Disraeli  at  6  or  as  soon 
after  as  possible. 

She  sends  this  letter  by  her  private  secretary,  Colonel  Pon- 
sonby,  who  can  be  the  bearer  of  any  written  or  verbal  answer 
from  Mr.  Disraeli. 

The  Queen  herself  drew  up  a  memorandum  to  describe 
what  passed  at  the  audience  which  followed. 

Memorandum  by  Queen  Victoria. 

BUCKINGHAM  PALACE,  March  13,  1873. —  Mr.  Disraeli  came  at 
a  little  after  6.  After  expressing  my  feeling  for  him  in  his 
sorrow  and  shaking  hands  with  him,  I  said  I  had  sent  for  him 
in  consequence  of  last  night's  vote;  and  he  asked  whether  I 
wished  him  to  give  a  categorical  answer,  or  to  say  a  few  words 
on  the  present  state  of  affairs.  I  said  I  should  willingly  hear 
what  he  had  to  say. 

He  then  went  on  to  say  that  he  had  not  expected  the  vote; 
he  had  thought,  after  Mr.  Cardwell's  speech,  the  Government 
would  have  a  majority.  That  the  Conservative  party  never 
was  more  compact  or  more  united;  that  there  was  the  most 
perfect  understanding  between  him  and  all  those  who  had  served 
with  him,  and  especially  named  Ld.  Derby,  Ld.  Cairns,  Mr. 
Hardy,  and  Sir  S.  Northcote.  That  he  was  perfectly  able  to 
form  a  Government  at  once,  perfectly  fit  to  carry  on  the  adminis- 
tration of  the  country  to  my  entire  satisfaction ;  that  he  could 
command  280  votes ;  that  since,  as  he  said,  '  I  had  left  your 
Majesty's  immediate  service,  for  I  never  consider  myself  out 
of  your  Majesty's  service,'  the  party  had  gained  considerably, 
about  thirty  seats;  that  he  had  laboured  to  keep  the  party  as 


much  together  and  in  as  efficient  a  state  as  possible;  but  that  it 
would  be  useless  to  attempt  to  carry  on  the  Government  with  a 
minority  in  the  House  of  Commons,  and  that  he  must  therefore 
state  his  inability  to  undertake  to  form  a  Government  in  the 
present  Parliament. 

What  was  then  to  be  done  ?  I  asked.  '  Mr.  Gladstone  ought 
to  remain  in  and  continue  to  carry  on  the  Government.'  This, 
I  said,  I  thought  he  very  likely  would  object  to,  having  declared 
his  views  so  strongly  on  this  measure.  This  was  a  mistake,  Mr. 
Disraeli  replied,  and  he  ought  never  to  have  done  so.  That 
might  be  so  or  not,  I  said,  but  anyhow  Mr.  Gladstone  did  feel 
this,  and  did  not  ask  for  a  dissolution,  therefore  I  thought  it 
doubtful  whether  he  would  consent  to  resume  or  continue  in 
office,  feeling  he  could  not  submit  to  this  vote.  '  But  he  has 
condoned  for  it  by  his  resignation  and  readiness  to  give  up 
power,'  was  the  answer ;  that  he  should  not  throw  up  office  merely 
for  this  vote ;  it  would  not  be  a  good  return  to  the  present  Parlia- 
ment, which  had  supported  him  so  warmly,  and  in  which  he  had 
carried  3  great  measures,  for  so  he  must  call  them,  though  he 
might  not  agree  with  them.  I  again  asked  him  what  I  was  to 
say  to  Mr.  Gladstone,  and  he  repeated  that  '  I  decline  to  form  a 
Government  in  the  present  Parliament,  and  I  do  not  ask  for  a 

Of  course,  he  said,  there  were  instances  where  a  Sovereign 
had  been  left  without  a  Government,  and  in  such  a  case  he 
would,  of  course,  be  ready  to  serve  me.  I  said  that  I  would 
at  once  let  Mr.  Gladstone  know,  but  that  I  might  have  to  call 
upon  him  again. 

Disraeli,  in  giving  Hardy  afterwards  an  account  of  his 
audience,  added  that  the  Queen's  '  cordiality  was  marked/ 
and  that  '  she  manifested,  as  he  thought,  a  repugnance 
to  her  present  Government.'  To  Beauchamp  he  wrote: 
'  I  had  a  more  than  gracious  reception ;  and,  if  Her  Majesty 
were  leader  of  the  Opposition,  I  believe  this  morning  she 
would  be  First  Lord  of  her  own  Treasury.'  The  Queen 
at  once  sent  Ponsonby  to  Gladstone  with  an  account  of  what 
had  passed,  adding,  '  She  considers  this  as  sending  for  you 
anew/  But  Gladstone  suspected  a  trick  and  told  Ponsonby 
that  he  '  thought  Mr.  Disraeli  was  endeavouring,  by  at 
once  throwing  back  on  me  an  offer  which  it  was  impossible 
for  me  at  the  time  and  under  the  circumstances  to  accept, 

210  THE  TURN  OF  THE  TIDE  [CHAP,  v 

to  get  up  a  case  of  absolute  necessity  founded  upon  this 
refusal  of  mine,  and  thus,  becoming  the  indispensable  man 
and  party,  to  have  in  his  hands  a  lever  wherewith  to  over- 
come the  reluctance  and  resistance  of  his  friends,  who  would 
not  be  able  to  deny  that  the  Queen  must  have  a  Govern- 
ment.' To  Gladstone  Disraeli  was  the  wily  mystery-man, 
and  the  simple  reasoning  which  had  led  his  rival  to  decline 
did  not  appear  at  all  adequate  to  one  who  was  determined 
to  find  some  deep  calculation  in  all  that  rival  did.  Accord- 
ingly, Gladstone  asked,  through  Ponsonby,  that  Disraeli's 
reply  might  be  put  in  writing. 

Memorandum   in    Colonel   Ponsonby's   Handwriting. 

March  13,  1873. —  Colonel  Ponsonby  called  on  Mr.  Disraeli 
in  the  evening  with  a  message  from  the  Queen,  asking  him  to 
give  Her  Majesty,  in  writing,  the  substance  of  his  conversation 
with  the  Queen. 

Mr.  Disraeli  willingly  complied  with  Her  Majesty's  wishes, 
and  wrote  down  roughly  the  chief  points  on  which  he  had  spoken. 

Colonel  Ponsonby  asked  Mr.  Disraeli  if  he  might  assume  that 
this  meant  an  unconditional  refusal.  Mr.  Disraeli  replied  that 
such  was  the  meaning  in  the  present  state  of  affairs. 

Colonel  Ponsonby  asked,  if  the  Queen  was  ready  to  sanction 
a  dissolution  as  soon  as  possible,  whether  Mr.  Disraeli  could 
then  accept  office,  taking,  of  course,  the  responsibility  of  giving 
the  advice  to  Her  Majesty  to  dissolve. 

Mr.  Disraeli  replied  that  he  could  not  accept  office  with  such 
an  understanding,  and  that  his  refusal  was  absolute. 

He  hoped  in  some  future  day,  when  another  Parliament 
assembled,  to  find  an  opportunity  of  serving  the  Queen,  but 
with  the  present  House  of  Commons  with  a  large  majority 
opposed  to  him,  he  could  not  undertake  the  Government. 

Such  was  the  official  report,  certified  by  Disraeli  to  be 
correct,  which  Ponsonby  made  to  the  Queen.  But  Pon- 
sonby drew  up  a  longer  and  more  detailed  account  of  what 
took  place,  which  shows  more  clearly  Disraeli's  position, 
while  it  also  amusingly  brings  out  the  secretary's  Whig  dis- 
trust of  the  Tory  leader.1 

i  Disraeli,  subsequently,  during  his  great  Ministry,  bore  striking 
testimony  to  the  absolute  impartiality  with  which  Ponsonby  carried 


Her  Majesty  sent  me  to  see  Mr.  Disraeli  in  Edwards's  Hotel, 
George  Street,  Hanover  Square.1  He  at  once  acceded  to  the 
Queen's  wish,  and  getting  pens  and  ink  said,  '  There,  let  me 
see,  I  can  easily  put  down  what  is  wanted;  that  is  very  nearly 
what  I  said.'  I  observed  that  I  did  not  quite  understand  it, 
and  hoped  he  would  forgive  me  if  I  asked  him  whether  he  meant 
it  as  a  refusal  to  take  office  while  this  Parliament  sat,  or  whether 
he  refused  entirely,  whether  the  Queen  consented  to  dissolve 
or  not.  He  said  he  meant  it  as  a  refusal,  that  he  could  not 
carry  on  the  Government  in  a  Parliament  where  there  were  80 
votes  of  majority  against  him.  '  But,'  I  said,  '  would  you  take 
office  and  dissolve  ? '  He  said,  '  I  thought  the  Queen  would  not 
agree  to  this.'  I  replied  I  thought  she  would  not  object,  in  fact, 
I  felt  certain  she  would  not.  '  But,'  he  said,  '  there  is  an  idea 
that  this,  being  my  Parliament,  cannot  be  dissolved  by  me.' 
'  But,'  I  remarked,  '  the  Queen  could  offer  you  a  dissolution, 
though,  of  course,  you  would  be  responsible  for  advising  her  to 
do  so.'  '  Of  course,'  he  said,  '  I  well  understand  that ;  but  I 
decline  altogether  to  accept  office.' 

He  went  on,  '  How  could  I  proceed  ?  For  two  months  at  least 
Parliament  must  continue,  while  the  regular  estimates,  Mutiny 
Act,  etc.,  are  passed.  The  Conservatives  are  gaining  favour  in 
the  country,  but  these  two  months  would  ruin  them.  They 
would  be  exposed  in  a  hostile  House  to  every  insult  which  the 
Opposition  might  choose  to  fling  at  them,  and  the  party  would 
be  seriously  damaged,  while  the  business  of  the  country  would 
suffer.  The  only  possibility  of  carrying  any  measure  would  be 
by  allying  myself  to  the  Irish  lot,  whom  I  detest  and  disagree 
with,  and  who  would  throw  me  over  whenever  it  suited  their 
purpose.'  I  said,  '  You  have  defeated  the  Government ;  ought 
you  not  therefore  to  undertake  the  responsibility  of  forming 
one?'  'No,'  he  replied;  'we  did  not  defeat  the  Government. 
We  threw  out  a  stupid,  blundering  Bill,  which  Gladstone,  in  his 
tete  montee  way,  tried  to  make  a  vote  of  confidence.  It  was  a 
foolish  mistake  of  his ;  but  he  has  condoned  for  it  by  resigning. 
He  can  now  resume  office  with  perfect  freedom.' 

out  his  duties  as  private  secretary  to  the  Queen.  He  said  to  a  political 
friend :  '  I  believe  that  General  Ponsonby  used  to  be  a  Whig,  but, 
whatever  his  politics  may  once  have  been,  I  can  only  say  that  I  could 
not  wish  my  case  better  stated  to  the  Queen  than  the  private  secretary 
does  it.  Perhaps  I  am  a  gainer  by  his  Whiggishness,  as  it  makes  him 
more  scrupulously  on  his  guard  to  be  always  absolutely  fair  and  lucid,' 
See  article  on  'The  Character  of  Queen  Victoria,'  Quarterly  Review, 
April,  1901. 

i  See  below,  p.  233. 

212  THE  TURN  OF  THE  TIDE  [CHAP,  v 

During  the  first  part  of  the  interview  Disraeli  sat  at  a  table, 
and  as  he  spoke  with  eagerness,  there  was  something  in  his 
over-civil  expressions  about  the  Queen  or  '  my  dear  Colonel/ 
which  made  me  think  he  was  playing  with  me,  and  I  felt  once 
or  twice  a  difficulty  in  not  laughing;  but  when  he  developed 
the  reasons  of  his  policy  he  rose  and  stood  much  more  upright 
than  I  have  ever  seen  him,  spoke  in  a  most  frank  and  straight- 
forward manner,  and  with  a  sharpness  and  decision  which  was 
different  from  his  early  words.  Yet  probably  he  had  measured 
the  length  of  my  foot,  and  had  been  more  sincere  and  honest  in 
his  message  to  the  Queen  than  when  he  made  me  believe  in  his 
frank  exposition  of  policy. 

He  was  far  easier  to  speak  to  than  Gladstone,  who  forces 
you  into  his  groove,  while  Disraeli  apparently  follows  yours 
and  is  genial,  almost  too  genial,  in  his  sentiments.  .  .  . 

In  accordance  with  Her  Majesty's  desire,  Disraeli  em- 
bodied in  a  couple  of  sentences  the  reply  which,  he  had  al- 
ready given : 

In  answer  to  the  gracious  inquiry,  whether  he  would  under- 
take to  form  a  Government,  Mr.  Disraeli  said  he  was  prepared 
to  form  an  Administration  which  he  believed  would  carry  on 
Her  Majesty's  affairs  with  efficiency,  and  would  possess  her 
confidence,  but  he  could  not  undertake  to  carry  on  Her  Majesty's 
Government  in  the  present  House  of  Commons. 

Subsequently,  Her  Majesty  having  remarked  that  Mr.  Glad- 
stone was  not  inclined  to  recommend  a  dissolution  of  Parlia- 
ment, Mr.  Disraeli  stated,  that  he  himself  would  not  advise  Her 
Majesty  to  take  that  step. 

The  language  was  perhaps  not  as  categorical  as  it  might 
have  been,  and  Gladstone's  ingenious  mind  found  a  dis- 
crepancy between  the  two  sentences,  which  led  him  on  the 
Friday  to  make  a  further  inquiry  of  the  Queen.  To  Her 
Majesty's  common  sense  it  was  clear  that,  if  Disraeli  would 
neither  take  office  in  the  existing  Parliament  nor  advise 
a  dissolution,  his  attitude  amounted  as  Pbnsonby  put  it  in 
his  memorandum,  to  an  '  absolute  refusal ' ;  and  she  ac- 
cordingly answered  that  Disraeli  had  unconditionally  de- 
clined to  form  a  Government.  After  such  a  reply,  it  might 

1873]  THE  QUEEN  AND  THE  RIVALS  213 

have  been  thought  that  a  Minister  who  still  possessed  for 
the  ordinary  purposes  of  government  a  majority  of  eighty 
or  ninety  would  have  considered  the  immediate  resumption 
of  office,  with  or  without  the  intention  of  an  early  dissolu- 
tion, to  be  his  obvious  duty.  But  Gladstone,  indignant  at 
Disraeli's  avoidance  of  responsibility,  embarrassed  the 
Queen  by  discovering  an  alternative  course  —  the  drafting 
of  a  detailed  memorandum  to  show  that  Disraeli's  action 
was  neither  justifiable  in  itself  nor  in  accordance  with 
precedent.  He  urged  that  the  proceeding  between  the 
Queen  and  Disraeli  could  not  be  regarded  as  complete,  as 
the  vote  had  been  the  result  of  concerted  action  by  the  Op- 
position on  a  matter  declared  to  be  vital  by  Ministers; 
and  therefore  Disraeli  ought  by  counsel  and  inquiry  among 
his  friends  to  have  exhausted  all  practicable  means  to  form 
a  Government.  He  recited  the  history  of  previous  Par- 
liamentary crises  to  show  that  there  was  no  precedent  for 
Disraeli's  summary  refusal.  He  could  not  call  his  col- 
leagues together  and  ask  them  to  resume  their  offices  were 
he  not  able  '  to  prove  to  them  that  according  to  usage 
every  means  had  been  exhausted  on  the  part  of  the  Opposi- 
tion f9r  providing  for  the  government  of  the  country,  or  at 
least  that  nothing  more  was  to  be  expected  from  that 
quarter.' 1 

It  was  a  lame  conclusion.  Gladstone  had  already  been 
told  that  nothing  more  was  to  be  expected  from  that  quarter. 
The  Queen  felt  this  strongly,  when  the  memorandum  was 
presented  to  her  on  the  Saturday.  But  as  her  constitu- 
tional duty  was  to  obtain  a  Government,  and  as  it  was 
plain  that  the  only  way  in  which  this  could  be  done  was  to 
persuade  Gladstone  to  return,  she  consented  to  humour 
him  so  far  as  to  become  the  medium  of  communication  for 
the  rival  leaders.  Her  secretary  put  on  paper  an  explana- 
tion of  her  views. 

iThe  text  is  given  in  Lord  Motley's  Gladstone,  Book  VI.,  ch.  12, 
where  the  crisis  is  narrated  and  examined  at  length. 

214  THE  TURN  OF  THE  TIDE  [OHAP.  v 

Memorandum  in   Colonel   Ponsoriby's   Handwriting. 

BUCKINGHAM  PALACE,  March  15. —  The  unusual  course  fol- 
lowed by  Mr.  Gladstone  of  asking  the  Queen  for  further  explana- 
tions before  he  could  call  the  Cabinet  together,  made  it  neces- 
sary for  Her  Majesty  to  consider  how  she  could  meet  his  request. 

The  Queen  could  not  refuse  to  take  any  notice  of  it,  as  this 
would  have  retarded  the  progress  of  the  negotiations  which  Her 
Majesty  was  anxious  to  bring  to  a  satisfactory  termination. 
Besides  which,  Her  Majesty  desired  there  should  be  no  mis- 

The  Queen  could  not  assure  Mr.  Gladstone  that  Mr.  Disraeli's 
refusal  to  accept  office  was  complete,  as  Her  Majesty  would  then 
have  undertaken  the  responsibility  of  answering  for  the  Opposi- 
tion party. 

The  Queen  could  not  herself  have  called  on  Mr.  Disraeli  for 
further  explanations,  as  Her  Majesty  would  then  have  assumed 
the  view  taken  by  Mr.  Gladstone  of  Mr.  Disraeli's  conduct. 

The  Queen  therefore,  with  Mr.  Gladstone's  knowledge  and 
consent,  forwarded  his  letter  entire  to  Mr.  Disraeli. 

From  Queen  Victoria. 

BUCKINGHAM  PALACE,  March  15,  '73. —  The  Queen  communi- 
cated, as  Mr.  Disraeli  is  aware,  the  substance  of  his  refusal  to 
undertake  to  form  a  Government  in  the  present  Parliament,  to 
Mr.  Gladstone,  and  she  thinks  it  due  to  Mr.  Disraeli  to  send  him 
the  accompanying  letter  (with  Mr.  Gladstone's  knowledge),  and 
will  be  glad  to  receive  a  reply  from  Mr.  Disraeli  which  she  can 
show  Mr.  Gladstone. 

The  Queen  allows  this  communication  to  be  made  through 
her  in  order  to  prevent  as  much  as  possible  any  misunderstand- 

On  receipt  of  this  letter  on  Saturday  afternoon,  Disraeli 
told  Ponsonby  that  he  could  easily  write  a  short  reply  at 
once,  but  he  '  felt  sure  it  would  meet  with  your  Majesty's 
wishes  and  his  own  inclinations  if  he  consulted  Lord  Derby 
and  other  members  of  his  party  before  writing  to  your 
Majesty.'  Derby  had  returned  on  the  Friday,  but  Cairns 
remained  abroad.  Disraeli's  memorandum  was  not  ready 
till  the  middle  of  Sunday,  and  he  sent  it  down  in  tbe  after- 
noon to  the  Queen,  who  had  retired  to  Windsor. 


To  Queen  Victoria. 

GEORGE  STREET,  HANOVER  SQUARE,  March  16,  1873. —  Mr.  Dis- 
raeli with  his  humble  duty  to  your  Majesty. 

He  thanks  your  Majesty  for  communicating  to  him  Mr.  Glad- 
stone's letter,  with  Mr.  Gladstone's  knowledge. 

He  is  grateful  to  your  Majesty  for  deigning  to  allow  these 
communications  to  be  made  through  your  Majesty,  and  humbly 
agrees  with  your  Majesty  that  it  is  a  mode  which  may  tend  to 
prevent  misunderstanding. 

The  observations  of  Mr.  Gladstone,  generally  considered,  may 
be  ranged  under  two  heads:  an  impeachment  of  the  conduct  of 
the  Opposition  in  contributing  to  the  vote  against  the  Govern- 
ment measure,  when  they  were  not  prepared,  in  the  event  of 
success,  to  take  office;  and  a  charge  against  the  Leader  of  the 
Opposition,  that,  when  honored  by  the  commands  of  your 
Majesty,  he  gave  a  '  summary  refusal '  to  undertake  your  Ma- 
jesty's Government,  without  exhausting  all  practicable  means 
of  aiding  the  country  in  its  exigency. 

The  argument  of  Mr.  Gladstone,  in  the  first  instance,  is  that 
the  Opposition,  having,  by  '  deliberate  and  concerted  action,' 
thrown  out  a  Bill,  which  the  Government  had  declared  to  be 
'  vital  to  their  existence,'  is  bound  to  use  all  means  to  form  a 
Government  of  .its  own,  in  order  to  replace  that  which  it  must  be 
held  to  have  intentionally  overthrown. 

It  is  humbly  submitted  to  your  Majesty,  that  though,  as  a 
general  rule,  this  doctrine  may  be  sound,  it  cannot  be  laid  down 
unconditionally,  nor  otherwise  than  subject  to  many  exceptions. 

It  is  undoubtedly  sound  so  far  as  this :  that  for  an  Opposition 
to  use  its  strength  for  the  express  purpose  of  throwing  out  a 
Government,  which  it  is  at  the  time  aware  that  it  cannot  replace 
—  having  that  object  in  view,  and  no  other  —  would  be  an  act 
of  recklessness  and  faction,  which  could  not  be  too  strongly 
condemned.  But  it  may  be  safely  affirmed  that  no  conduct  of 
this  kind  can  be  imputed  to  the  Conservative  Opposition  of  1873. 

If  the  doctrine  in  question  is  carried  further;  if  it  be  con- 
tended that,  whenever,  from  any  circumstances,  a  Minister  is  so 
situated  that  it  is  in  his  power  to  prevent  any  other  Parlia- 
mentary leader  from  forming  an  Administration  which  is  likely 
to  stand,  he  acquires,  thereby,  the  right  to  call  upon  Parlia- 
ment to  pass  whatever  measures  he  and  his  colleagues  think  fit, 
and  is  entitled  to  denounce  as  factious  the  resistance  to  such 
measures  —  then  the  claim  is  one  not  warranted  by  usage,  or 
reconcilable  with  the  freedom  of  the  Legislature. 

216  THE  TURN  OF  THE  TIDE  [CHAP,  v 

It  amounts  to  this:  that  he  tells  the  House  of  Commons, 
'  Unless  you  are  prepared  to  put  some  one  in  my  place,  your 
duty  is  to  do  whatever  I  bid  you.' 

To  no  House  of  Commons  has  language  of  this  kind  ever  been 
addressed :  by  no  House  of  Commons  would  it  be  tolerated. 

In  the  present  instance,  the  Bill  which  has  been  the  cause 
of  the  crisis,  was,  from  the  first,  strongly  objected  to  by  a  large 
section  of  the  Liberal  party,  and  that  on  the  same  grounds  which 
led  the  Conservative  Opposition  to  resist  it,  namely,  that  it 
seemed  calculated  to  sacrifice  the  interests  of  Irish  education 
to  those  of  the  Roman  Catholic  hierarchy. 

A  protracted  discussion  strengthened  the  general  feeling  of 
the  House  of  Commons  as  to  the  defects  of  the  measure:  the 
party  whom  it  was,  apparently,  intended  to  propitiate,  rejected  it 
as  inadequate;  and,  probably,  if  the  sense  of  the  House  had  been 
taken  on  the  Bill,  irrespective  of  considerations  as  to  the  political 
result  of  the  division,  not  one-fourth  of  the  House  would  have 
voted  for  it.  From  first  to  last,  it  was  unpopular,  both  inside 
and  outside  Parliament,  and  was  disliked  quite  as  much  by 
Liberals  as  by  Conservatives. 

It  is  humbly  submitted  to  your  Majesty  that  no  Minister  has 
a  right  to  say  to  Parliament,  '  You  must  take  such  a  Bill, 
whether  you  think  it  a  good  one  or  not,  because,  without  passing 
it,  I  will  not  hold  office,  and  my  numerical  strength  in  the  present 
House  is  too  great  to  allow  of  any  other  effective  Administration 
being  formed.' 

The  charge  against  the  Leader  of  the  Opposition  personally, 
that,  by  his  '  summary  refusal '  to  undertake  your  Majesty's  Gov- 
ernment, he  was  failing  in  his  duty  to  your  Majesty  and  the 
country,  is  founded  altogether  on  a  gratuitous  assumption  by 
Mr.  Gladstone,  which  pervades  his  letter,  that  the  means  of  Mr. 
Disraeli  to  carry  on  the  Government  were  not  '  exhausted.'  A 
brief  statement  of  facts  will  at  once  dispose  of  this  charge. 

Before  Mr.  Disraeli,  with  due  deference,  offered  his  decision 
to  your  Majesty,  he  had  enjoyed  the  opportunity  of  consulting 
those  gentlemen,  with  whom  he  acts  in  public  life;  and  they 
were  unanimously  of  opinion,  that  it  would  be  prejudicial  to 
the  interests  of  the  country  for  a  Conservative  Administration  to 
attempt  to  conduct  your  Majesty's  affairs,  in  the  present  House 
of  Commons.  What  other  means  were  at  Mr.  Disraeli's  dis- 
posal? Was  he  to  open  negotiations  with  a  section  of  the  late 
Ministry,  and  waste  days  in  barren  interviews,  vain  applications, 
and  the  device  of  impossible  combinations?  Was  he  to  make 
overtures  to  the  considerable  section  of  the  Liberal  party  who 


had  voted  against  the  Government,  namely,  the  Irish  Roman 
Catholic  gentlemen?  Surely  Mr.  Gladstone  is  not  serious  in 
such  a  suggestion.  Impressed  by  experience,  obtained  in  those 
very  instances  to  which  Mr.  Gladstone  refers,  of  the  detrimental 
influence  upon  Government  of  a  '  crisis '  unnecessarily  prolonged 
by  hollow  negotiations,  Mr.  Disraeli  humbly  conceived  that  he 
was  taking  a  course  at  once  advantageous  to  the  public  interests 
and  tending  to  spare  your  Majesty  unnecessary  anxiety,  by  at 
once  laying  before  your  Majesty  the  real  position  of  affairs. 

There  are  many  observations  in  Mr.  Gladstone's  letter  which 
Mr.  Disraeli,  for  convenience,  refrains  from  noticing.  Some 
of  them  are  involved  in  an  ambiguity  not  easy  to  encounter  in 
a  brief  space:  some  of  them,  with  reference  to  Mr.  Disraeli's 
conduct  in  the  House  of  Commons,  Mr.  Disraeli  would  fain  hope 
are  not  entirely  divested  of  some  degree  of  exaggeration.  '  The 
deliberate  and  concerted  action  of  the  Opposition '  would  sub- 
side, Mr.  Disraeli  believes,  on  impartial  investigation,  into  the 
exercise  of  that  ordinary,  and  even  daily,  discipline  of  a  political 
party,  without  which  a  popular  assembly  would  soon  degenerate 
into  a  mob,  and  become  divested  of  all  practical  influence.  In 
the  present  instance,  Mr.  Disraeli  believes  he  is  correct  in  affirm- 
ing, that  his  friends  were  not  even  formally  summoned  to  vote 
against  the  Government  measure,  but  to  support  an  amendment 
by  an  honorable  gentleman,  which  was  seconded  from  the  Liberal 
benches,  and  which  could  only  by  a  violent  abuse  of  terms  be 
described  as  a  party  move. 

Then,  again,  much  is  made  of  the  circumstance  that  the  exist- 
ence of  the  Government  was  staked  on  this  measure.  Mr.  Dis- 
raeli has  already  treated  of  this  subject  generally.  But  what  are 
the  particular  facts?  No  doubt,  more  than  a  month  ago,  the 
Prime  Minister,  in  a  devoted  House  of  Commons,  had,  in  an 
unusual,  not  to  say  unprecedented,  manner,  commenced  his  ex- 
position of  an  abstruse  measure  by  stating  that  the  existence  of 
the  Government  was  staked  on  its  success.  But  inasmuch  as, 
in  the  course  of  time,  it  was  understood  that  the  Government 
were  prepared  to  modify,  or  even  to  withdraw,  most  of  the 
clauses  of  this  ir.?0sure,  these  words  were  forgotten  or  condoned, 
and  could  not  be  seriously  held  as  exercising  a  practical  in- 
fluence on  the  ultimate  decision. 

From  Queen  Victoria. 

WINDSOR  CASTLE,  March  16,  1873. —  The  Queen  thanks  Mr. 
Disraeli  for  his  letter.  She  has  sent  it  to  Mr.  Gladstone,  and 
asked  him  whether  he  will  undertake  to  resume  office. 

218  THE  TURN  OF  THE  TIDE  [CHAP,  v 

Gladstone  was  at  last  convinced,  to  use  his  own  language, 
that  no  '  further  effort '  was  to  be  expected  from  the  Op- 
position '  towards  meeting  the  present  necessity.'  He  and 
his  colleagues  accordingly  resumed  their  offices.  But  in 
writing  to  the  Queen  he  recognised  that  the  political  posi- 
tion had  been  '  seriously  unhinged  by  the  shock,'  and  that 
neither  the  Administration  nor  the  Parliament  could  again 
be  what  they  were ;  and  he  did  not  disguise  in  his  explana- 
tion to  Parliament  the  damage  that  had  been  sustained, 
and  the  disadvantages  necessarily  attaching  to  a  returning 
or  resuming  Government. 

The  best  opinion,  both  of  the  public  and  of  the  Conserva- 
tive party,  approved  of  Disraeli's  decision.  The  Times 
had  advised  that  course  throughout.  Its  editor's  view  was 

sent  to  Disraeli  by  Lennox. 

\  I 
From  Lord  Henry  Lennox. 

Private.  19,  GROSVENOR  GARDENS,  S.W.,  March  16,  1873. — 
Delane  dined  -with  me  last  evening,  and  I  cannot  forbear  letting 
you  know  what  he  said. 

First,  that  you  now  stand  in  the  highest  position  in  which 
any  statesman  has  stood  for  many  years  past;  that  you  had  by 
your  decision  given  proof  of  the  very  highest  order  of  states- 
manship, both  unselfish  and  patriotic;  that  he  is  convinced  your 
statement  of  to-morrow  will  produce  the  very  best  effect  through- 
out the  country,  and  will  earn  for  you  the  gratitude  of  your 
followers  and  the  respect  and  admiration  of  your  opponents; 
and  lastly  that  in  this  matter  you  have  displayed  a  judgment 
and  a  spirit  of  which  Gladstone  would  be  utterly  incapable. 

I  need  not  tell  you  with  what  pleasure  I  heard  his  remarks, 
especially  as  they  were  made  in  presence  of  the  P.  of  Wales, 

the  Duke  of  Edinburgh,  and  many  others. 


So  strong  a  party  man  and  competent  a  manager  as  Lord 
Abergavenny  held  that  '  Dizzy  has  acted  most  wisely  in  re- 
fusing to  form  a  Government.'  But  there  was  of  course  a 
disappointed  section  of  the  party,  who  clamoured  for  the 
bold  policy  of  forcing  a  dissolution  and  forming  a  Govern- 
ment, and  maintained  that  any  hesitation  to  seize  the  helm 
would  have  as  discouraging  and  dispiriting  an  effect  as 

1873]          GOVERNMENT  WITH  A  MINORITY  219 

Derby's  refusal  in  1855.  It  was  mainly  to  the  satisfaction 
of  these  impatient  partisans  that  Disraeli  addressed  himself 
in  his  Parliamentary  explanation  on  March  30.  Some  parts 
of  an  unnecessarily  elaborate  speech  were  not  very  happy; 
and  Hardy  rightly  criticised  his  chief's  remarks  about  the 
impossibility  of  a  matured  and  complete  policy  in  opposi- 
tion. But  there  was  a  large  amount  of  necessary  financial 
and  other  business  which  a  new  Government  would  have 
had  to  get  through  before  the  session  could  be  wound  up 
and  dissolution  accomplished,  and  there  was  no  answer  to 
the  passage  in  which  Disraeli  pointed  out  what  would  dur- 
ing the  intervening  period  be  the  certain  lot  of  an  Admin- 
istration with  a  majority  of  ninety  against  them. 

I  know  well  —  and  those  who  are  around  me  know  well  — 
what  will  occur  when  a  Ministry  takes  office  and  attempts  to 
carry  on  the  Government  with  a  minority  during  the  session, 
with  a  view  of  ultimately  appealing  to  the  people.  We  should 
have  what  is  called  '  fair  play.'  That  is  to  say,  no  vote  of  want 
of  confidence  would  be  proposed,  and  chiefly  because  it  would 
be  of  no  use.  There  would  be  no  wholesale  censure,  but  retail 
humiliation.  A  right  hon.  gentleman  will  come  down  here,  he 
will  arrange  his  thumbscrews  and  other  instruments  of  torture 
on  this  table.  We  shall  never  ask  for  a  vote  without  a  lecture; 
we  shall  never  perform  the  most  ordinary  routine  office  of  Gov- 
ernment without  there  being  annexed  to  it  some  pedantic  and 
ignominious  condition.  ...  In  a  certain  time  we  should  enter 
into  the  paradise  of  abstract  resolutions.  One  day  hon.  gentle- 
men cannot  withstand  the  golden  opportunity  of  asking  the 
House  to  affirm  that  the  income  tax  should  no  longer  form  one 
of  the  features  of  our  Ways  and  Means.  Of  course  a  proposition 
of  that  kind  would  be  scouted  by  the  right  hon.  gentleman  and 
all  his  colleagues;  but,  then,  they  might  dine  out  that  day,  and 
the  Resolution  might  be  carried,  as  Resolutions  of  that  kind 
have  been.  Then  another  hon.  gentleman,  distinguished  for  his 
knowledge  of  men  and  things,  would  move  that  the  diplomatic 
service  be  abolished.  While  hon.  gentlemen  opposite  were  laugh- 
ing in  their  sleeves  at  the  mover,  they  would  vote  for  the  motion 
in  order  to  put  the  Government  into  a  minority.  For  this  reason. 
'  Why  should  men,'  they  would  say,  '  govern  the  country  who  are 
in  a  minority  ? '  totally  forgetting  that  we  had  acceded  to  office 
in  the  spirit  of  the  Constitution,  quite  oblivious  of  the  fountain 

220  THE  TURN  OF  THE  TIDE  [CHAP,  v 

and  origin  of  the  position  we  occupied.  And  it  would  go  very 
hard  if  on  some  sultry  afternoon,  some  hon.  member  should  not 
'  rush  in  where  angels  fear  to  tread,'  and  successfully  assimilate 
the  borough  and  the  county  franchise.  And  so  things  would 
go  on  until  the  bitter  end  —  until  at  last  even  the  Appropriation 
Bill  has  passed,  Parliament  is  dissolved,  and  we  appeal  to  those 
millions,  who,  perhaps,  six  months  before,  might  have  looked 
upon  us  as  the  vindicators  of  intolerable  grievances,  but  who 
now  receive  us  as  a  defeated,  discredited,  and  degraded  ministry, 
whose  services  can  neither  be  of  value  to  the  Crown  nor  a  credit 
to  the  nation. 

The  Tory  party,  Disraeli  maintained,  occupied  a  most 
satisfactory  position.  It  had  divested  itself  of  excrescences 
and  emerged  from  the  fiscal  period.  In  order  to  deal  with 
the  more  fundamental  questions  which  were  rapidly  coming 
to  the  front,  it  was  of  the  utmost  importance  that  there 
should  be  (  a  great  Constitutional  party,  distinguished  for 
its  intelligence  as  well  as  for  its  organisation,  which  shall 
be  competent  to  lead  the  people  and  direct  the  public  mind.' 
That  there  might  be  no  obstacle  to  its  future  triumph,  he, 
as  the  trustee  of  its  honour  and  interests,  declined  to  form  a 
weak  and  discredited  Administration. 

To  the  Duke  of  Richmond. 

Friday,  March  21,  1873. —  I  thought  what  you  said  was  most 
judicious  and  a  propos,  and  will  have  a  good  effect,  and  encourage 
the  country.  You  spoke  too  highly  of  your  colleague  and  corre- 
spondent, but  it  proved  our  union;  and  I  must  try  to  deserve 
your  praise. 

I  don't  think  the  Prime  Minister  greatly  distinguished  him- 
self in  our  House. 

We  shall  all  of  us  be  glad  to  see  Cairns  again.  How  much 
has  happened  in  his  absence,  and  ripe,  I  think,  with  the  seeds 
of  the  future. 

The  seeds  of  the  future  were  indeed  germinating.  To 
an  Opposition  which,  little  more  than  a  year  before,  was 
discredited,  discontented,  factious,  and  hopeless,  Disraeli 
had  given  organisation,  policy,  popular  respect,  the  assur- 
ance of  high  and  unselfish  leadership,  and  the  expectation 
of  early  and  definitive  success. 




While  Disraeli's  political  prospects  grew  daily  brighter, 
a  heavy  cloud  fell  upon  his  domestic  life.  After  thirty- 
three  years  of  unbroken  happiness  and  affection,  he  lost 
the  wife  who  was  in  very  deed  his  chosen  helpmate,1  to 
whom  he  attributed,  in  a  speech  at  Edinburgh  in  1867,  all 
the  successes  of  his  life,  '  because  she  has  supported  me  by 
her  counsel  and  consoled  me  by  the  sweetness  of  her  mind 
and  disposition.'  The  world  might  laugh  at  her  queer- 
nesses  and  gaucheries,  which  became  more  marked  with 
age ;  might  find  it  difficult  to  decide  which  were  the  odder, 
her  looks  or  her  sayings,  the  clothes  she  wore  or  the  stories 
she  told.  In  externals,  she  might  seem  a  strange  wife  for 
a  statesman.  But,  besides  the  obvious  kindness  and  genu- 
ineness of  her  nature,  and  the  shrewd  judgment  which  un- 
derlay her  inconsequent  words,  she  had  qualities  peculiarly 
becoming  in  her  place :  absolute  trustworthiness  and  discre- 
tion in  political  secrets,  which  Disraeli  never  seems  to  have 
hid  from  her;  a  constancy  and  heroism  which  matched  his 
own,  and  which,  on  one  notable  occasion,  enabled  her  to 
bear  the  jamming  of  her  finger  in  a  carriage  door  in  smiling 
silence  so  that  his  equanimity  on  the  way  to  an  important 
debate  might  not  be  disturbed. 

Lady  Beaconsfield  was  now  an  old  woman  of  eighty, 
and  of  late  years  had  experienced  much  ill-health;  on  one 
occasion,  in  1868,  her  life  was  for  some  days  in  peril.  In 
the  spring  of  1872,  after  the  fatigue  and  excitement  of  the 
Manchester  demonstrations,  she  once  more  showed  signs  of 

i  See  Vol.  II.,  ch.  2. 


breaking  down;  but  for  a  time  performed,  and  was  en- 
couraged by  her  physician  to  perform,  her  social  duties 
as  usual. 

To  Montagu  Carry. 

G.  GATE,  May  7,  1872. —  Sir  William  [Gull]  examined  me  this 
morning  and  has  decided  that  though  one  of  the  bronchial  tubes 
is  clogged,  there  is  nothing  organically  wrong,  or  which  may 
not  soon  be  put  right. 

Miladi  is  suffering  less.  She  went  to  Lady  Waldegrave's  last 
night,  but  was  obliged  to  come  home  almost  immediately.  But, 
as  she  boastfully  says,  her  illness  was  not  found  out.  She  de- 
lighted Fortescue  x  by  telling  him  that  she  had  heard  him  very 
much  praised.  He  pressed  her  very  much  when  and  where. 
She  replied,  '  It  was  in  bed.' 

Sir  William  gives  a  good  account  of  her  to-day,  and  seems  to 
think  he  has  remedied  the  pain,  which  is  all  we  can  hope  for, 
and  has  sanctioned,  and  even  advised,  her  to  go  to  Court:  but 
I  don't  think  he  allows  enough  for  her  extreme  weakness.  How- 
ever, I  shall  be  with  her  to-day;  last  night  she  was  alone,  which 
I  think  fearful. 

H.  OF  C.  May  9,  '72. —  The  visit  to  Court  was  not  successful. 
She  was  suffering  as  she  went,  and  was  taken  so  unwell  there, 
that  we  had  to  retreat  precipitately;  but  without  much  observa- 
tion. Knowing  the  haunts  of  the  palace  a  little,  I  got  hold  of 
some  female  attendants  who  were  very  serviceable.  .  .  . 

CARLTON  CLUB,  May  14,  '72. —  I  have  been,  and  am,  so  harassed, 
that  I  have  been  quite  unable  to  write  a  line  —  and  this  will  be 
sad  stuff. 

Nothing  encouraging  at  home.  To  see  her  every  day  weaker 
and  weaker  is  heartrending.  I  have  had,  like  all  of  us,  some 
sorrows  of  this  kind;  but  in  every  case,  the  fatal  illness  has  been 
apparently  sudden,  and  comparatively  short.  The  shock  is  great 
under  such  circumstances  no  doubt,  but  there  is  a  rebound  in  the 
nature  of  things.  But  to  witness  this  gradual  death  of  one,  who 
has  shared  so  long,  and  so  completely,  my  life,  entirely  unmans 

For  herself,  she  still  makes  an  effort  to  enter  society:  and  Sir 
William  approves  and  even  counsels  it;  but  it  is  impossible  the 
effort  can  be  maintained. 

I  know  not  what  are  our  movements.  If  the  weather  were 
genial,  I  think  she  is  disposed  to  try  Hughenden,  but  I  leave 

i  Chichester  Fortescue,  afterwards  Lord  Carlingford,  was  Lady  Wal- 
degrave'8  husband. 


everything  of  this  sort  to  her  fancy  and  wish.  She  once  talked 
of  going  down  on  Thursday.  I  can't  believe  that  after  her 
return,  she  will  attempt  society  any  more:  the  break  of  a  fort- 
night will  produce  some  effect  in  this  way.  .  .  . 

Lady  Beaconsfield  was  taken  to  Hughenden  for  the  Whit- 
suntide recess ;  but  the  malady  did  not  yield  to  the  change 
and  country  air. 

To  Montagu  Corry. 

HUGHENDEN,  May  22,  1872. — .  .  .  I  have  no  good  news.  Her 
sufferings  have  been  great  here:  but  the  change  of  weather  has 
brought  a  ray  of  distraction. 

She  moves  with  great  difficulty  and  cannot  bear  the  slightest 
roughness  in  the  road,  which  sadly  limits  our  travels.  She 
enjoyed  yesterday  going  to  the  German  Forest,  ascending  from 
the  Lady's  Walk,  but  suffered  afterwards.  Antonelli  pushes 
her  about  in  a  perambulator  a  little,  and  seems  to  amuse  her. 
He  heard  a  nightingale  '  whistling '  about  the  house.  She  thinks 
*  whistling '  a  capital  term  for  bird  noises.  .  .  . 

With  indomitable  pluck,  Lady  Beaconsfield,  after  her 
return  to  town,  refused  to  accept  the  confinement  of  an 
invalid;  but  resumed  her  social  life,  until  on  July  17,  at 
a  party  at  Lady  Loudoun's  house  to  meet  the  Duchess  of 
Cambridge,  she  suddenly  became  very  seriously  ill  and 
had  to  be  taken  home  at  once.  The  hostess  and  the  guests 
were  struck  by  her  wonderful  courage,  '  and  indeed  hero- 
ism,' and  by  the  unselfishness  with  which  she  seemed  to 
think  more  of  the  inconvenience  which  her  illness  might 
cause  her  hostess  than  of  her  own  acute  pain.  She  was 
never  able  to  go  out  in  London  society  again. 

To  Lady  Beaconsfield. 

July  25,  1872. —  I  have  nothing  to  tell  you,  except  that  I  love 
you,  which,  I  fear,  you  will  think  rather  dull.  .  .  . 

Natty  *  was  very  affectionate  about  you,  and  wanted  me  to 
come  home  and  dine  with  him;  quite  alone;  but  I  told  him  that 
you  were  the  only  person  now,  whom  I  could  dine  with;  and 
only  relinquished  you  to-night  for  my  country. 

i  The  late  Lord  Rothschild,  at  this  time  M.P.  for  Aylesbury. 


My  country,  I  fear,  will  be  very  late;  but  I  hope  to  find  you 
in  a  sweet  sleep. 

From  Lady   Beaconsfield. 

July  26. 

MY  OWN  DEAREST, —  I  miss  you  sadly.  I  feel  so  grateful  for 
your  constant  tender  love  and  kindness.  I  certainly  feel  better 
this  evening.  .  .  .  Your  own  devoted  BEACONSFIELD. 

This  is  the  last  letter  of  his  wife's  which  Disraeli  pre- 
served —  probably  the  last  she  wrote  him.  She  was  not 
able  to  be  moved  to  Hughenden  until  the  end  of  September ; 
so  he  and  she  passed,  as  he  expressed  it,  their  '  first  summer 
in  London.' 

To  Lord  Cairns. 

Private.  GROSVENOR  GATE,  Aug.  17,  1872. —  Many,  many 
thanks.  The  birds  were  capital  and  pleased  the  fastidious  palate 
of  my  invalid. 

The  prospect  of  reaching  Hughenden  seems  every  day  fainter. 
Lady  Beaconsfield  has  had  more  than  one  return  of  her  hemor- 
rhage, and,  sometimes,  I  feel,  and  fear,  that  even  her  buoyant 
and  gallant  spirit  will  hardly  baffle  so  many  causes  of  exhaustion. 

We  have  not  been  separated  for  three  and  thirty  years,  and, 
during  all  that  time,  in  her  society  I  never  have  had  a  moment 
of  dullness.  It  tears  the  heart  to  see  such  a  spirit  suffer,  and 
suffer  so  much!  May  you,  my  dear  Cairns,  never  experience 
my  present  feelings!  .  .  . 

From  the  Duchess  of  Cleveland. 

RABY  CASTLE,  DARLINGTON,  Sept.  12,  '72. — .  .  .  One  privilege 
you  have  which  is  not  granted  to  all.  No  two  people  surely  can 
look  back  upon  a  life  of  such  loving  and  perfect  companionship. 
One  of  my  sons  once  spoke  to  Lady  Beaconsfield  in  wonder  of 
the  youthful  energy  and  high  spirits  she  preserved,  and  said 
something  of  the  courage  and  force  of  character  it  showed. 
'  No,'  she  said,  '  it  is  not  that.  It  is  that  my  life  has  been  such 
a  happy  one.  I  have  had  so  much  affection,  and  no  troubles  — 
no  contradictions:  that  is  what  has  kept  me  so  young  and 
well.'  .  .  . 

To   Gathorne  Hardy. 

Private.  GROSVENOR  GATE. —  Sept.  16,  1872. —  We  are  much 
touched  by  yr.  kind  letter,  which  I  mentioned  to  my  wife.  She 

1872]  A  SUMMER  IN  LONDON  225 

sends  her  very  kindest  regards  to  Mrs.  Hardy  and  yourself,  but 
she  does  not  see  this  letter,  so  I  will  say,  that  her  condition  oc- 
casions me  the  greatest  disquietude,  tho'  they  tell  me  there  is 
some  improvement.  Her  illness,  under  wh.  she  has,  to  some 
degree,  been  suffering  for  many  months,  is  a  total  inability  to 
take  any  sustenance,  and  it  is  to  me  perfectly  marvellous  how 
she  exists,  and  shows  even  great  buoyancy  of  life. 

We  have  never  left  Grosvenor  Gate,  tho'  as  everything  has 
been  tried  in  vain,  Lady  Beaconsfield  now  talks  of  trying  change 
of  air,  and  endeavouring  to  get  down  to  Hughenden.  As  for 
myself,  I  have  never  been  into  the  town  during  the  whole  of 
August  and  the  present  month,  so,  when  business  commences, 
Pall  Mall  and  Whitehall  shall  be  as  fresh  to  me  as  to  my  happier 
comrades,  who  are  shooting  in  Scotland  or  climbing  the  Alps. 
One  has  the  advantage  here  when  we  wake,  of  looking  upon 
trees,  and  bowery  vistas,  and  we  try  to  forget,  that  the  Park  is 
called  Hyde,  and  that  the  bowers  are  the  bowers  of  Kensing- 

We  take  drives  in  the  counties  of  Middx.  and  Surrey,  and 
discover  beautiful  retreats  of  wh.  we  had  never  heard;  so  we 
have  the  excitement  of  travel.  What  surprises  me,  more  than 
anything,  is  the  immensity  and  variety  of  London,  and  the  miles 
of  villas  wh.  are  throwing  out  their  antenna?  in  every  suburban 
direction.  .  .  . 

I  should  like  to  hear  from  you  again  as  to  your  own  health. 
All  depends  on  you.  I  am  only  holding  the  reins  during  a  period 
of  transition,  and  more  from  a  feeling  of  not  deserting  the 
helm  at  a  moment  of  supposed  difficulty  and  danger,  than  any 
other.  .  .  . 

A  note  in  Disraeli's  handwriting,  apparently  intended 
for  the  Queen,  gives  some  further  particulars  of  these  drives 
round  London. 

What  miles  of  villas !  and  of  all  sorts  of  architecture !  What 
beautiful  churches !  What  gorgeous  palaces  of  Geneva !  * 

One  day  we  came  upon  a  real  feudal  castle,  with  a  donjon 
keep  high  in  the  air.  It  turned  out  to  be  the  new  City  prison 
in  Camden  Road,  but  it  deserves  a  visit;  I  mean  externally. 
Of  all  the  kingdoms  ruled  over  by  our  gracious  mistress,  the 
most  remarkable  is  her  royaume  de  Cockaigne,  and  perhaps  the 
one  the  Queen  has  least  visited.  Her  faithful  servants  in  ques- 

1  In  letters  to  friends  written  at  this  time  the  '  gorgeous  palaces  of 
Geneva  '  became  more  prosaically  '  gin-palaces.' 


tion,  preparing  their  expeditions  with  a  map,  investigated  all 
parts  of  it  from  Essex  to  Surrey,  and  Lady  Beaconsfield  calcu- 
lated that  from  the  1st  of  August  to  the  end  of  September  she 
travelled  220  miles. 

To  Lord   Cairns. 

GROSVENOR  GATE,  Sept.  26,  1872. —  You  have  expressed  so  much 
sympathy  for  us,  and  it  has  heen  so  highly  appreciated,  that  I 
must  tell  you,  that,  to-day,  we  hope  to  reach  Hughenden.  There 
has  been,  within  the  last  week,  a  decided,  and,  I  hope  now,  a 
permanent  improvement  in  my  wife's  health,  and  she  is  resolved 
to  try  change  of  air.  I  am  a  little  sorry,  that  we  go  home  in  the 
fall  of  the  leaf,  and  that  too  in  a  sylvan  land,  but  home  only  can 
insure  her  the  comforts  and  the  ease,  which  an  invalid  requires. 

If  she  could  only  regain  — not  appetite  —  but  even  a  desire 
for  sustenance,  I  should  be  confident  of  the  future,  the  buoyancy 
of  her  spirit  is  so  very  remarkable.  However,  there  is  a  streak 
of  dawn.  .  .  . 

What  Disraeli  called  '  our  hegira  from  Grosvenor  Gate ' 
proved  at  first  a  success;  and  on  October  3  he  could  write 
more  cheerfully  to  Corry :  '  Lady  Beaconsfield  has  been 
here  a  week,  and  has  improved  daily;  there  seems  a  sus- 
tained revival  of  appetite,  which  had  altogether  ceased.'  In 
answer  to  the  Queen's  sympathetic  inquiries  through  Lady 
Ely  he  was  able  to  report  '  continuous  improvement.  You 
know  her  buoyancy  of  spirit.  She  says  she  is  now  convinced 
that  everybody  eats  too  much;  still  at  the  same  time  she 
would  like  to  be  able  to  eat  a  little.' 

The  improvement  was  fallacious ;  and  though  Lady  Bea- 
consfield occasionally  received  visitors  and  even  apparently 
paid  a  call  on  near  neighbours,  her  husband's  letters  show 
that  her  strength  was  waning  during  the  following  two 
months,  till  the  final  attack  came  upon  her  in  the  second 
week  of  December. 

To  Montagu  Corry. 

HUGHENDEN,  Oct.  13,  '72. — .  .  .  Things  here  very  bad. 
Nov.  8. — .  .  .  Affairs  have  been  going  very  badly :  so  badly, 
that  I  telegraphed,  yesterday,  for  Leggatt  and  he  came  down 


immediately:  but  he  took  a  different  view  from  us,  I  am  glad 
to  say:  and  persisted  that,  if  sustenance  could  be  taken,  no  im- 
mediate danger  was  to  be  apprehended.  But  how  to  manage 
that?  The  truth  is,  she  never  has  even  tasted  any  of  the  dishes, 
that  the  Rothschilds  used  to  send  her  in  London,  and  anxious 
as  she  was  to  partake  of  the  delicacies  you  so  kindly  provided 
for  her,  and  which  touched  her  much,  it  has  ended  with  them  as 
with  the  feats  of  Lionel's  chef! 

Shall  you  be  disengaged  for  three  or  four  days  on  the  21st? 
The  John  Manners  are  to  come  here  on  that  day,  if  all  goes 
well.  A  party  is  impossible,  but  perhaps  we  might  manage  a 
couple  of  men. 

Nov.  13. —  Things  go  on  here  much  the  same :  some  improve- 
ment which  I  ascribe  to  the  weather  —  not  in  the  appetite,  but 
in  continued  absence  of  pain,  and  consequently  enjoyment  of 
life.  .  .  . 

To  Philip  Rose. 

HUGHENDEN  MANOR,  Nov.  13,  1872. — .  .  .  Lady  Beaconsfield 
intended  to  have  called  at  Rayners  to-day,  and  to  have  hoped 
that  Mrs.  Rose  and  yourself  would  be  able  to  dine  with  us  on 
Friday  the  22nd.  I  trust  we  shall  find  you  disengaged.  The 
snow  frightened  me,  tho'  my  wife  was  inclined  to  face  it. 

The  temporary  improvement  lasted  long  enough,  to  enable 
the  patient  to  enjoy  her  little  party  from  November  21 
to  25,  including,  besides  the  John  Manners,  Lord  Eosebery 
for  the  first  two  days,  and  Harcourt  and  Lord  Ronald 
Gower  for  the  last  two;  and  to  justify  one  of  those  guests  in 
writing  her  a  jocular  letter  of  thanks. 

William  Vernon  Harcourt  to  Lady  Beaconsfield. 

TRIN.  COLL.,  CAMBRIDGE,  Nov.  26,  1872. —  I  have  all  my  life 
made  efforts  (apparently  destined  to  be  unsuccessful)  to  appear 
what  Falstaff,  or  is  it  Touchstone  ?,  calls  '  moderate  honest.' 
But  here  I  am  actually  a  felon  malgre  moi.  Joseph's  butler  was 
not  more  alarmed  and  shocked  than  I  was  when,  on  opening  my 
sack,  the  first  thing  I  discovered  in  its  mouth  was  the  French 
novel  you  had  provided  for  my  entertainment  in  my  charming 
bedroom  at  Hughenden.  Whether  the  act  was  one  of  accidental 
larceny  by  my  servant  or  whether  it  was  insidiously  effected  by 
Lord  J.  Manners  in  order  to  ruin  my  public  and  private  reputa- 


tion,  I  do  not  feel  sure.  I  did  however  return  it  by  this  morn- 
ing's post  before  I  left  London,  and  so  I  hope  to  be  forgiven. 

I  have  already  taken  measures  to  secure  a  consignment  to 
you  of  Trinity  audit  ale.  Delicious  as  it  is,  I  doubt  whether 
there  really  exists  anyone  except  a  Cambridge  man  who  can 
drink  it  with  impunity.  .  .  . 

And  now  a  truce  to  nonsense.  I  must  offer  you  one  word  of 
serious  and  sincere  thanks  for  the  true  and  genuine  kindness 
which  I  have  received  at  your  hands  and  those  of  Mr.  Disraeli. 
It  was  no  language  of  compliment  but  of  simple  truth  which 
I  spoke  when  I  told  you  that,  of  all  visits  which  it  was  possible 
•to  pay,  there  was  none  of  which  I  should  have  been  more 
ambitious  than  that  which  I  owed  to  your  hospitality  last  Sun- 
day. There  are  things  in  the  world  which  one  not  only  enjoys 
at  the  time  but  which  one  remembers  always  —  and  these  are 
of  them.  .  .  . 

Disraeli  told  Harcourt  that  a  glass  of  the  Trinity  audit 
ale  was  almost  the  last  thing  which  passed  Lady  Beacons- 
field's  lips  before  she  died.  Lord  Ronald  Gower,  writing 
of  this  visit  in  his  Reminiscences,  vividly  depicts  Disraeli's 
distress  in  talking  of  his  wife's  sufferings.  '  His  face,  gen- 
erally so  emotionless,  was  filled  with  a  look  of  suffering  and 
woe  that  nothing  but  the  sorrow  of  her  whom  he  so  truly 
loves  would  cause  on  that  impassive  countenance.' 

To  Montagu  Corry. 

Nov.  29. — .  .  .  My  lady's  appetite  has  been  sustained;  indeed 
I  think  I  may  say  it  is  restored :  but  her  sufferings  are  increased, 
and  I  have  just  been  obliged  to  send  to  Leggatt  to  beg  him  to 
come  down  to-morrow. 

She  got  over  her  visit  and  visitors,  notwithstanding  this,  with 
success  and  great  tact:  showing  little,  but  always  to  effect.  .  .  . 

To  Philip  Rose. 

HUGHENDEN,  Dec.  6,  1872. —  Affairs  are  most  dark  here  —  I 
tremble  for  the  result,  and  even  an  immediate  one.  My  poor 
wife  has  got  (it  matters  not  by  what  means)  congestion  on  her 
lungs,  and  with  her  shattered  state,  it  seems  to  me  almost  hope- 
less, that,  even  with  her  constitution,  we  should  again  escape. 
I  entirely  trust  to  your  coming  to  me,  if  anything  happens.  / 
am  totally  unable  to  meet  the  catastrophe.  .  .  . 


The  last  stage  was  mercifully  not  prolonged.  She  died 
on  December  15,  after  a  week's  acute  illness,  during  which 
her  husband  seldom  left  her  room.  A  note  which  he  sent 
out  to  Corry  on  one  of  these  days  is  preserved :  *  She  says 
she  must  see  you.  Calm,  but  the  delusions  stronger  than 
ever.  She  will  not  let  me  go  out  to  fetch  you.  Come.  D.' 

There  was  a  great  outpouring  of  public  and  private 
sympathy  with  Disraeli  in  this  severe  trial.  The  terms  of 
close  affection  on  which  he  had  lived  with  his  wife,  long 
familiar  to  his  intimates,  had  of  late  years  become  widely 
known  to  the  country.  Letters  of  condolence  poured  in, 
not  merely  from  friends  and  colleagues,  but  from  perfect 
strangers  of  all  classes  and  parties ;  and  the  public  journals 
manifested  appreciation  and  respect.  The  Queen,  whose 
telegrams  and  messages  of  inquiry  had  been  constant 
throughout  the  illness,  wrote: 

From  Queen  Victoria. 

WINDSOR  CASTLE,  Dec.  15,  1872. —  The  Queen  well  knows  that 
Mr.  Disraeli  will  not  consider  the  expression  of  her  heartfelt 
sympathy  an  intrusion  in  this  his  first  hour  of  desolation  and 
overwhelming  grief,  and  therefore  she  at  once  attempts  to  ex- 
press what  she  feels.  The  Queen  knew  and  admired  as  well  as 
appreciated  the  unbounded  devotion  and  affection  which  united 
him  to  the  dear  partner  of  his  life,  whose  only  thought  was  him. 
And  therefore  the  Queen  knows  also  what  Mr.  Disraeli  has  lost 
and  what  he  must  suffer.  The  only  consolation  to  be  found  is 
in  her  present  peace  and  freedom  from  suffering,  in  the  recollec- 
tion of  their  life  of  happiness  and  in  the  blessed  certainty  of 
eternal  reunion. 

May  God  support  and  sustain  him  is  the  Queen's  sincere  prayer. 

Her  children  are  all  anxious  to  express  their  sympathy. 
Yesterday  was  the  anniversary  of  her  great  loss. 

The  Prince  and  Princess  of  Wales  and  other  members 
of  the  Royal  Family  were  among  the  first  to  send  their 
sympathy.  Queen  Sophia  of  the  Netherlands  wrote :  '  It 
is  given  to  few  to  have  a  character  like  hers ' ;  the  King 
of  the  Belgians,  on  behalf  of  the  Queen  and  himself: 
'  Toute  notre  sympathie  est  avec  vous  dans  ce  cruel  mo- 


ment ' ;  the  Due  D'Aumale :  '  Personne  mieux  que  moi 
ne  comprend  pas  1'etendue  de  votre  douleur.  .  .  .  Mon 
coeur  est  tout  avec  le  votre ' ;  and  the  Empress  of  Austria, 
through  Count  Bernstorff :  '  She  knows  how  deeply  Lady 
Beaconsfield  was  devoted  to  you  and  how  you  returned 
her  devotion  by  touching  affection  and  gratitude.'  Her 
great  personal  kindness  was  what  the  old  Whig  leader, 
Russell,  among  many  others,  dwelt  on  in  a  sympathetic 
note.  Lord  Rosebery,  who  had  been  one  of  the  last  visitors 
at  Hughenden,  wrote :  1 1  can  hardly  now  realise  that  my 
kind  hostess  whom  I  saw  full  of  life  and  spirit  a  few  days 
ago  has  passed  away.  ...  I  suppose  no  one  ever  came  near 
her  without  admiring  her  goodness,  her  unselfishness,  and 
her  magnificent  devotion.'  The  Prime  Minister's  letter 
and  an  American  tribute  may  be  given  more  at  length : 

From,  William  Ewart  Gladstone. 

10,  DOWNING  STREET,  WHITEHALL,  Jan.  19,  1873. — .  .  .  You 
and  I  were,  as  I  believe,  married  in  the  same  year.  It  has  been 
permitted  to  both  of  us  to  enjoy  a  priceless  boon  through  a  third 
of  a  century.  Spared  myself  tbe  blow  which  has  fallen  on  you, 
I  can  form  some  conception  of  what  it  must  have  been  and  be. 
I  do  not  presume  to  offer  you  the  consolation  which  you  will 
seek  from  another  and  higher  quarter.  I  offer  only  the  assur- 
ance which  all  who  know  you,  all  who  knew  Lady  Beaconsfield, 
and  especially  those  among  them  who  like  myself  enjoyed  for 
a  length  of  time  her  marked  though  unmerited  regard,  may 
perhaps  render  without  impropriety;  the  assurance  tbat  in  tbia 
trying  hour  they  feel  deeply  for  you,  and  with  you.  .  .  . 

To  William  Ewart  Gladstone. 

HUGHENDEN  MANOR,  Jan.  24,  1873. —  I  am  much  touched  by 
your  kind  words  in  my  great  sorrow.  I  trust,  I  earnestly  trust, 
that  you  may  be  spared  a  similar  affliction.  Marriage  is  the 
greatest  earthly  happiness,  when  founded  on  complete  sympathy. 
.That  hallowed  lot  was  mine,  and  for  a  moiety  of  my  existence; 
and  I  know  it  is  yours. 

From  John  Lothrop  Motley. 

MENTMORE,  LEIGHTON  BUZZARD,  Feb.  21,  '73.—.  .  .  I  shall  never 
forget  the  most  agreeable  visit  which  my  wife  and  I  enjoyed  at 

1872-1873]  SYMPATHY  OF  FRIENDS  231 

Hughenden  a  little  before  we  left  England  nor  any  of  Lady 
Beaconsfield's  acts  of  charming  and  graceful  hospitality  united 
to  your  own.  I  always  admired  her  ready  wit,  her  facility  and 
charm  in  social  intercourse,  her  quick  perception  of  character 
and  events,  and  it  was  impossible  not  to  be  deeply  touched  by 
her  boundless  devotion  to  yourself,  which  anyone,  allowed  the 
privilege  of  your  acquaintance,  could  see  was  most  generously 
and  loyally  repaid.  .  .  . 

I  never  met  her  in  society  without  being  greeted  by  a  kindly 
smile  and  a  sympathetic  word,  and  I  have  frequently  enjoyed  long 
and  to  me  most  agreeable  conversations  with  her.  She  knew 
well  how  thoroughly  I  appreciated  and  shared  in  her  admiration 
for  the  one  great  object  of  her  existence.  .  .  . 

Disraeli  was,  for  the  time,  overwhelmed  by  his  loss. 
Two  of  his  letters  will  show  his  feeling.  He  used  the  same 
or  very  similar  expressions  to  all  his  friends.  That  she  had 
appreciated  them  was  their  great  merit  in  his  eyes.  '  Of 
character,'  he  wrote  to  one  of  them,  '  she  was  no  mean 
judge.  I  must  ever  regard  those  who  remember  her  with 
tenderness  and  respect.' 

To  the  Prince  of  Wales. 

Dec.  22,  1872. 

SIR  AND  DEAR  PRINCE, —  I  will  attempt  to  thank  Her  Royal 
Highness  and  yourself  for  the  sympathy  which  you  have  shown 
to  me  in  my  great  sorrow,  a  grief  for  which  I  was  unprepared, 
and  which  seems  to  me  overwhelming. 

A  few  days  before  her  death,  she  spoke  to  me  of  the  Princess 
and  yourself,  Sir,  in  terms  of  deep  regard,  and,  if  I  may  pre- 
sume to  say  so,  of  affection.  I  took,  therefore,  the  occasion  of 
mentioning  the  invitation  she  had  received  to  Sandringham, 
and  she  was  gratified.  She  said  '  It  would  have  been  a  happy 
incident  in  a  happy  life,  now  about  to  close.  I  liked  his  society, 
I  delighted  in  the  merriment  of  his  kind  heart.' 

I  shall  always  remember  with  gratitude  the  invariable  kind- 
ness shewn  by  Her  Royal  Highness  and  yourself,  Sir,  to  one 
who  for  33  years  was  the  inseparable  and  ever  interesting  com- 
panion of  my  life. 


To  Lord  Cairns. 

GROSVENOR  GATE,  Dec.  28,  '72. —  Kind  and  much  loved  friend ! 
I  thank  you  for  all  your  sympathy  in  my  great  sorrow,  and  for 
all  your  goodness  to  one,  who  was  my  inseparable,  and  ever- 
interesting  companion  for  a  moiety  of  my  existence.  She  al- 
ways appreciated  you,  and  thought  me  fortunate  in  having  such  a 

Altho'  you  are  the  one,  whom  I  should  wish  first,  and  most, 
to  see,  I  will  not  precipitate  our  interview,  for  I  have  not  yet 
subdued  the  anguish  of  the  supreme  sorrow  of  my  life. 

I  am  obliged  to  be  here  on  business,  and  shall  remain  here 
till  Friday,  when  I  go  out  of  town  for  a  day  or  two,  but  not  to 
Hughenden.  On  Monday,  i.e.,  to-morrow,  week,  I  must  return 
here.  It  will  be  my  last  visit  to  a  house,  where  I  have  passed 
exactly  half  my  days,  and,  so  far  as  my  interior  life  was  con- 
cerned, in  unbroken  happiness.  .  .  . 

Among  Lady  Beaconsfield's  papers  was  found  a  touching 
letter  of  farewell  to  her  husband,  written  many  years  be- 
fore, in  view  of  the  high  probability  that  she,  who  was  the 
elder  by  twelve  years,  would  be  the  first  to  die. 

June  6,  1856. 

MY  OWN  DEAR  HUSBAND. —  If  I  should  depart  this  life  before 
you,  leave  orders  that  we  may  be  buried  in  the  same  grave  at 
whatever  distance  you  may  die  from  England.1  And  now,  God 
bless  you,  my  kindest,  dearest !  You  have  been  a  perfect  husband 
to  me.  Be  put  by  my  side  in  the  same  grave.  And  now,  fare- 

Swell,  my  dear  Dizzy.  Do  not  live  alone,  dearest.  Some  one  I 
earnestly  hope  you  may  find  as  attached  to  you  as  your  own 
devoted  MARY  ANNE. 

Accordingly,  Lady  Beaconsfield  was  buried  in  Hugh- 
enden churchyard  in  the  vault  in  which  her  husband  was 
himself  to  be  laid,  and  by  the  side  of  their  benefactress, 
Mrs.  Brydges  Willyams.  Directly  the  simple  funeral  was 
over,  Disraeli,  as  appears  from  his  letter  to  Cairns,  was 
plunged  in  business.  His  wife's  death,  made  a  vast  change 
in  his  circumstances;  he  lost  thereby  £5,000  a  year  and 
a  house  in  town ;  though  his  generous  friend,  Andrew  Mon- 

i  This  was  written  shortly  before  Disraeli  and  his  wife  were  about 
to  leave  England  for  a  cure  at  a  Continental  watering-place  on  account 
of  his  health.  See  Vol.  IV.,  p.  51. 

1873]  IN  A  LONDON  HOTEL  233 

tagu,  gave  him  material  assistance  by  reducing  the  interest 
on  his  debts  from  3  to  2  per  cent.  He  had  to  move  all  his 
possessions  from  Grosvernor  Gate,  and  find  a  new  abiding- 
place  in  London.  '  Corry  seems  his  factotum,'  wrote  Hardy 
in  his  diary,  '  and  he  needs  one,  for  he  is  quite  unfit  for 
that  sort  of  business.'  He  took  refuge  for  a  time  in  an 
hotel  —  Edwards's  Hotel,  in  George  Street,  Hanover 
Square.  '  It  was,  in  the  days  of  my  youth,'  he  told  North- 
cote,  '  the  famous  house  of  Lady  Palmerston,  then  Lady 
Cowper ;  and  at  least  I  shall  labour  in  rooms  where  a  great 
statesman  has  been  inspired.' 

There  had  been  some  fear  amongst  his  colleagues,  whom 
the  events  of  the  past  year  had  quite  converted  from  their 
heresies  on  the  leadership,  lest  the  loss  of  one  so  intimately 
associated  with  the  triumphs  of  his  political  career  should 
incline  Disraeli  to  withdraw  from  active  politics.  On  the 
contrary,  he  turned  to  them  as  a  welcome  distraction.  He 
asked  two  of  his  leading  colleagues,  Cairns  and  Hardy,  to 
come  to  him  at  Hughenden  in  the  middle  of  January. 
Their  presence,  he  wrote,  would  be  '  a  source  of  strength 
and  consolation,'  and  would  make  him  '  much  more  capable 
of  re-entering  public  life.'  With  them  he  discussed  the 
,  political  situation  and  the  vagaries  of  the  Government ;  and 
to  them  he  declared  his  intention  of  being  present  and 
speaking  when  the  session  began. 

When  he  went  up  to  town  he  was  deprived  of  the  comfort 
of  Corry's  presence,  owing  to  the  serious  illness  of  Corry's 

To  Montagu  Corry. 

EDWARDS'S  HOTEL,  Feb.  4,  '73. —  I  left  you  with  a  bleeding  heart 
yesterday,  amid  all  the  sorrows,  which  seemed  to  accumulate 
around  our  heads:  but  your  telegram  has  a  little  lifted  me  out 
of  the  slough  of  despond.  I  had  just  energy  enough  to  send 
a  paragraph  to  the  papers,  and  messages  to  Nbrthcote  and 
Derby.  The  former  was  with  me  at  11  o'clock,  and  has  under- 
taken to  communicate  with  Gladstone  about  the  speech,  and  the 
latter  has  just  left  me.  ...  Harrington  has  also  paid  me  a 
long  visit.  Hardy  is  to  be  with  me  to-morrow  morning,  and 


has  sent  me  a  memorandum  from  Cairns,  which  contains  all  I 
required.  Hardy  gives  a  dinner  to  the  party  to-morrow:  Cairns 
to-day  to  Lords  and  Commons. 

Give  my  kind  regards  to  your  father  and  sister.  I  hope  every 
hour  to  have  another  telegram  that  his  amendment  has  become 

All  my  friends  admire  my  rooms.  I  cannot  say  I  agree  with 
them,  but  things  may  mend. 

Fortunately  for  Disraeli  the  political  crisis  which  re- 
sulted in  Gladstone's  abortive  resignation  immediately 
supervened.  He  had  something  therefore  to  distract  his 
thoughts;  but  his  loneliness  in  his  hotel  weighed  heavily 
upon  him,  and  in  his  letters  to  Corry  he  constantly  harped 
on  his  l  miserable  state/  his  *  melancholy,'  '  the  heaviness 
and  misery '  of  his  life.  Corry  could  not  return  to  him, 
as  the  elder  Corry's  illness  became  increasingly  serious  and 
ended  fatally  in  March.  Disraeli  said  to  Malmesbury  with 
tears  in  his  eyes,  '  I  hope  some  of  my  friends  will  take 
notice  of  me  now  in  my  great  misfortune,  for  I  have  no 
home,  and  when  I  tell  my  coachman  to  drive  home  I  feel 
it  is  a  mockery.'  His  friends  responded  to  his  appeal,  and 
did  their  best  to  cheer  him  up  by  asking  him  to  dine  with 
them  quietly. 

To  Montagu  Corry. 

HOUSE  OF  COMMONS,  Feb.  10,  1873. — .  .  .  All  yesterday,  rumors 
of  a  crisis  were  in  the  air.  At  Lionel's  *  where  I  was  asked  to 
a  family  circle  I  found,  to  my  annoyance,  not  merely  Charles 
Villiers  and  Osborne,  whom  I  look  upon  as  the  family,  but  Lords 
Cork  and  Houghton.  The  political  excitement  was  great,  and 
not  favorable  to  the  position  of  Ministers :  but  Lionel  told  me 
afterwards,  that  he  had  seen  the  Bill  (Delane  had  shown  it  him). 
Would  you  believe  it,  I  was  so  distrait,  and  altogether  embar- 
rassed, that  I  never  asked  him  a  question  about  it? 

This  morning  I  was  obliged  to  go  to  Middleton's  about  the 
picture,2  which  is  virtually  finished.  He  has  altered  the  ex- 
pression, but  not  hit  the  mark.  I  have  made  some  suggestions, 
but  am  not  sanguine  about  them.  .  .  . 

1  Baron  Lionel  de  Rothschild. 

2  Of  Lady  Beaconsfield ;  see  Frontispiece. 


Adieu!  mon  ires  cher.  I  never  wanted  you  more,  but  it  is 
selfish  to  say  so. 

Feb.  17. — .  .  .  I  was  much  pleased  with  the  portrait,  and  the 
frame,  which  is  exquisite.  He  has  succeeded  in  giving  to  the 
countenance  an  expression  of  sweet  gravity,  which  is  character- 
istic. .  .  . 

Feb.  18. — .  .  .  I  dined  yesterday  at  the  Carlton:  latish  and 
was  not  annoyed.  The  John  Manners  asked  me  again  for  to- 
morrow, but  I  declined.  On  Thursday  I  am  to  dine  with  the 
Cairns  and  meet  the  Hardys,  and  on  Friday  alone  with  the 
Stanhopes :  Saturday  alone  with  my  Countess : x  so  all  my  plans 
of  absolute  retirement  are  futile.  I  regret  this,  for  every  visit 
makes  me  more  melancholy  —  though  hotel  life  in  an  evening 
is  a  cave  of  despair. 

I  was  with  Brunnow  an  hour  to-day  —  and  Madame  would 
come  down,  and  kiss  me! 

March  1. —  Your  letter  greatly  distressed  me,  and  I  have  been 
in  hopes  of  receiving  a  telegram. 

I  have  been  dining  out  every  day,  but  only  with  my  host  and 
hostess  alone  —  and  sometimes  a  very  friendly  fourth.  'Yester- 
day, at  the  John  Manners',  with  Duke  of  Rutland ;  and  on  Thurs- 
day at  the  Stanhopes'  with  dear  Henry,2  who  received  two  des- 
patches from  Marlboro'  House,  during  the  dinner.  I  dine  with 
dear  Henry  to-day  to  meet  B.  Osborne  alone :  and  to-morrow  with 
the  Malmesburys;  it  is  better  than  dining  here  alone,  which  is 
intolerable,  or  at  a  club,  which,  even  with  a  book,  is  not  very 
genial.  .  .  . 

March  7. —  Your  silence,  my  best  and  dearest  Montagu,  was 
ominous  of  your  impending  woe.  What  can  I  say  to  you,  but 
express  my  infinite  affection?  Death  has  tried  you  hard  dur- 
ing the  last  few  months,  but  you  have  shown,  in  the  severe  proof, 
admirable  qualities,  which  all  must  admire  and  love. 

I  should  be  glad  to  hear  some  tidings  of  your  sister :  as  for 
myself,  I  am  a  prisoner,  and  almost  prostrate,  with  one  of  those 
atmospheric  attacks  which  the  English  persist  in  calling  '  colds,' 
and,  for  the  first  time  in  my  life,  am  absent  from  House  of 
Commons  in  the  midst  of  a  pitched  battle. 

But  these  are  nothings  compared  to  your  sorrows.  Though  I 
cannot  soften,  let  me  share,  them. 

April  4. — .  .  .  To-day  I  went  by  appointment  to  New  Court, 
expecting  to  do  business:  nothing  done.  Lionel  there,  but  not 
well:  a  terrible  luncheon  of  oysters  and  turtle  prepared,  and 

1  Apparently  Lady  Chesterfield,  or  perhaps  Lady  Cardigan. 

2  Lord  Henry  Lennox. 


after  that  nothing  settled.  This  was  disgusting.  I  dine  with 
the  Stanhopes  to-day.  On  Wednesday  last  a  rather  full  party 
at  Grillion's:  the  last  dinner  at  the  bankrupt  Clarendon  [hotel]. 
Salisbury  was  there,  and  Lowe. 

To  the  Duchess  of  Abercorn* 

12,  GEORGE  STREET,  HANOVER  SQUARE,  May  18,  '73. —  It  is  most 
kind  of  you,  and  of  his  Grace,  to  remember  me:  but  I  am,  really, 
living  in  seclusion,  so  far  as  general  society  is  concerned,  and 
therefore,  I  am  sure  you  will  permit  me  to  decline  your  oblig- 
ing invitation  for  the  24th. 

Your  '  boys '  deserve  kindness  and  encouragement,  because 
they  are  clever  and,  above  all,  industrious,  and  perhaps,  also, 
because  they  inherit  the  agreeable  qualities  of  their  parents. 



To  Disraeli  the  rupture  of  a  union  so  complete  as  was 
that  between  him  and  his  wife  meant  more  than  it  would 
have  meant  to  most  affectionate  husbands.  His  tempera- 
ment was  such  that  he  could  not  be  happy,  and  could  not 
bring  out  the  best  work  of  which  he  was  capable,  without 
intimate  female  association  and  sympathy.  *  My  nature 
demands  that  my  life  should  be  perpetual  love,'  had  been 
a  glowing  outburst  of  his  youth ;  and  that  love,  for  all  his 
wealth  of  men  friends  and  the  affection  which  he  lavished 
on  them,  must  be  the  love  of  woman.  In  Henrietta  Temple 
he  wrote :  l  A  female  friend,  amiable,  clever,  and  devoted, 
is  a  possession  more  valuable  than  parks  and  palaces;  and, 
without  such  a  muse,  few  men  can  succeed  in  life,  none 
be  content.'  Throughout  his  whole  life  he  had  been  blessed 
with  devotion  and  sympathy  of  this  kind  in  ample  measure. 
Two  women,  first  his  sister  and  then  his  wife,  had  made 
him  and  his  ambitions  the  centre  of  their  existence ;  to  both 
of  them  his  own  affection  and  devotion  had  been  unstinted ; 
there  had  been  between  him  «nd  them  a  constant  com- 
munion of  thoughts  and  hopes  and  sympathies.  In  a  lesser 
degree  Mrs.  Brydges  Willyams,  in  her  later  years,  shared 
in  this  close  intimacy.  There  were,  moreover,  other  ladies 
whose  sympathetic  appreciation  had  cheered  and  helped 
his  career  —  such  as  Mrs.  Austen,  Lady  Blessington,  and 
Frances  Anne  Lady  Londonderry.  '  I  feel  fortunate,'  he 
wrote  *  in  1874,  '  in  serving  a  female  Sovereign.  I  owe 
everything  to  woman ;  and  if,  in  the  sunset  of  life,  I  have 

i  To  Lady  Bradford. 

238  LADY  BRADFORD  [CHAP,  vn 

still  a  young  heart,  it  is  due  to  that  influence.'  With  all 
the  women  who  influenced  his  life  he  kept  up  a  constant 
correspondence  of  a  romantic  and  sentimental  kind,  in  which 
he  revealed,  not  merely  his  doings,  but  his  thoughts  and 
his  character.  '  A  she-correspondent  for  my  money,'  was 
the  exclamation  of  one  of  his  exuberant  youthful  heroes; 
and  it  is  to  the  fact  that  he  carried  on  throughout  his  life 
a  copious  correspondence  with  women  that  our  knowledge 
of  the  real  Disraeli  is  largely  due. 

With  Lady  Beaconsfield's  death  the  last  of  the  women 
with  whom  he  had  hitherto  enjoyed  this  sympathetic  inter- 
course passed  away ;  and  he  was  left  for  the  time  widowed 
indeed.  Few  men  at  his  age  —  sixty-eight  —  would  have 
had  the  freshness  of  heart  to  form  new  attachments,  and 
to  resume  with  others  the  sentimental  and  romantic  in- 
timacy which  had  proved  so  stimulating  an  influence; 
and  of  those  who  still  possessed  sufficient  youthfulness  for 
the  adventure,  most  would  have  been  prevented,  especially 
if  public  men,  by  the  fear  of  incurring  censure  and  ridicule. 
But  Disraeli's  affections  were  still  warm,  and  craved  sym- 
pathetic understandings;  nor  was  he  to  be  deterred  by 
possible  ridicule  from  following  their  dictates.  He  spoke 
for  himself  when  he  wrote  a  few  years  earlier  in  Lothair  l : 
1  Threescore  and  ten,  at  the  present  day,  is  the  period  of 
romantic  passions.  As  for  our  enamoured  sexagenarians, 
they  avenge  the  theories  of  our  cold-hearted  youth.' 

Among  those  who  showed  him  special  kindness  in  his 
early  months  of  loneliness  and  desolation  were  two  sisters, 
whom  he  had  long  known  in  society,  Lady  Chesterfield 
and  Lady  Bradford.  Anne  Countess  of  Chesterfield  was 
the  eldest,  and  Selina  Countess  of  Bradford  was  the  young- 
est, of  five  sisters,  daughters  of  the  first  Lord  Forester,  the 
head  of  an  ancient  Shropshire  family.  Of  the  other  sisters 
one  married  Lord  Carrington's  eldest  son,  Robert  John 
Smith,  and  died  young  in  1832,  before  her  husband  suc- 
ceeded to  the  title.  She  was  of  course  a  neighbour  of  the 

iCh.  35. 

From  a  portrait  after  Sir  E.  Landseer,  R.A.,  at  Hughenden. 


Disraelis  after  they  established  themselves  at  Bradenham 
in  1829 ;  and  it  was  at  Wycombe  Abbey,  but  apparently 
after  Mrs.  Smith's  death,  that  Disraeli  first  met  Lady  Brad- 
ford. *  Mr.  D.  will  tell  you,'  wrote  Lady  Bradford  to  Mrs. 
Disraeli  in  March,  1868,  '  that  our  first  acquaintance  was 
100  years  ago  in  poor  Lord  Carrington's  house,  before  he 
[Disraeli]  knew  you.'  Another  sister  married  General 
Anson,  who  was  Commander-in-Chief  in  India  when  the 
Mutiny  broke  out ;  *  and  the  remaining  sister  married  Lord 
Albert  Conyngham,  afterwards  the  first  Lord  Londesbor- 
ough.  In  their  youth  the  five  sisters  were  prominent  in 
the  world  of  fashion,  gaiety,  and  sport  —  the  world  that 
revolved  round  Almack's,  of  which  their  mother  Lady 
Forester  was  an  eminent  patroness;  and  at  least  Lady 
Chesterfield,  Mrs.  Anson,  and  Lady  Bradford  had  been 
reigning  beauties.  Disraeli,  in  his  days  of  dandyism,  was 
naturally  thrown  in  their  company.  In  1835  he  went  to 
a  specially  gorgeous  fancy  dress  ball  with  a  party  which  in- 
cluded the  Chesterfields  and  the  Ansons,  and  told  his  sister 
that  '  Lady  Chesterfield  was  a  sultana.' 2  In  1838  he 
met  at  Wycombe  Abbey  a  whole  family  party  of  the  For- 
esters — '  rather  noisy,  but  very  gay  ' — '  Lady  Chesterfield, 
George  and  Mrs.  Anson,  the  Albert  Conynghams,  Forester,' 
and  '  made  the  greatest  friends  with  all  of  them,'  he  told 
Mrs.  Wyndham  Lewis.3  The  second  brother,  General '  Cis  ' 
Forester,  who  sat  for  Wenlock  in  Parliament  for  nearly 
half  a  century  and  succeeded  to  the  title  in  1874,  had  been 
a  friend  of  Disraeli's  from  early  years. 

Of  the  five  sisters  only  Lady  Chesterfield  and  Lady 
Bradford  were  still  living.  Lady  Chesterfield,  who  was  a 
couple  of  years  older  than  Disraeli,  was  the  widow  of  the 
sixth  Earl  of  Chesterfield  who  had  died  seven  years  before. 
Her  daughter  had  married  one  of  the  Reform  Bill  dis- 
sentients, Carnarvon.  Lady  Bradford  was  the  wife  of  the 
third  Earl  of  Bradford,  a  sporting  peer,  and  a  man  of 

1  See  Vol.  IV.,  p.  87.  «  See  Vol.  II.,  p.  49. 

2  See  Vol.  I.,  pp.  302,  303. 

240  LADY  BRADFORD  [CHAP,  vn 

character  and  consideration,  who  had  been  Disraeli's  col- 
league as  Lord  Chamberlain  from  1866  to  1868,  and  was 
again  to  be  his  colleague  as  Master  of  the  Horse  from  1874 
to  1880.  She  was  seventeen  years  younger  than  her  sister; 
but  both  ladies  were  by  this  time  grandmothers.  When 
Lady  Bradford's  eldest  son,  Lord  Newport,  was  married 
in  1869,  Disraeli  had  written  him  what  his  mother  called, 
we  learn  from  a  note  of  Corry's  of  that  date,  f  the  nicest  let- 
ter in  the  world,  and  such  a  clever  one.' 

With  both  these  sisters  Disraeli  became,  during  the  spring 
and  summer  of  1873,  on  terms  of  intimate  friendship.  In 
them  he  found  that  female  sympathy  and  companionship 
without  which  life  was  for  him  an  incomplete  thing.  That 
they  were  ladies  influential  in  the  fashionable  and  aristo- 
cratic Tory  society  which  had  shown  some  reluctance  to 
admit  his  undisputed  sway  as  leader  counted,  no  doubt,  for 
something  with  him.  That  they  recalled  the  memories  and 
attachments  of  his  youth,  when  to  be  taken  up  by  Lady 
Forester  and  the  bright  particular  stars  of  Almack's  was 
of  importance  to  him,  counted  for  more  with  one  whose  gra- 
titude was  lifelong.  But,  over  and  above  all  these  considera- 
tions, his  personal  affection  for,  and  devotion  to,  both  ladies 
were  quite  unmistakable.  Of  the  circumstances  in  which 
the  intimacy  arose  he  wrote  to  Lady  Chesterfield  in  the 
autumn,  '  Altho,'  from  paramount  duty,  I  attended  Parlia- 
ment this  session,  I  have  never  been  in  society,  except  that 
delightful  week  when,  somehow  or  other,  I  found  myself 
in  the  heart  of  your  agreeable  family.'  The  first  letter 
to  Lady  Chesterfield  which  has  been  preserved  was  writ- 
ten in  June,  1873,  and  he  was  .already  on  such  terms  with 
her  that  he  addressed  her  as  l  Dearest  Lady  Ches.'  and 
subscribed  himself,  '  Your  most  affectionate  D.'  The  first 
letter  of  the  series  to  Lady  Bradford  was  written  in  July, 
and  in  the  second,  August,  she  too  was  '  Dearest  Lady  Brad- 
ford.' He  went  to  stay  in  the  autumn  with  the  one  at 
Bretby  and  with  the  other  at  Weston ;  and  these  visits  were 
constantly  repeated  to  the  close  of  his  life,  and  were  re- 

1873]  AN  OFFER  OF  MARRIAGE  241 

turned  by  the  ladies  and  by  Lord  Bradford  at  Hughenden. 
There  have  been  preserved  some  500  letters  to  Lady  Chester- 
field in  these  eight  years,  and  no  fewer  than  1,100  to  Lady 
Bradford ;  while  the  twelve  years  of  his  acquaintance  with 
Mrs.  Brydges  Willyams  only  produced  about  250.  This 
Bradford-Chesterfield  correspondence  is  absolutely  invalu- 
able for  a  due  understanding  of  Disraeli's  final  period ;  like 
the  letters  in  earlier  times  to  his  sister  and  his  wife,  it  both 
reveals  his  intimate  hopes  and  feelings,  and  also  describes 
in  brilliant  fashion,  from  day  to  day,  at  times  almost 
from  hour  to  hour,  his  political  and  social  experiences.1 
The  ladies'  letters  were  destroyed,  by  their  desire,  after 
his  death. 

So  necessary  to  Disraeli's  life  was  the  intimacy  thus 
established  — '  the  delightful  society,'  as  he  told  Lady  Ches- 
terfield in  March,  1874,  'of  the  two  persons  I  love  most 
in  the  world  ' —  that  he  endeavoured  to  make  it  permanent 
by  asking  Lady  Chesterfield  to  marry  him,  so  that  he  might 
grapple  one  lady  to  his  heart  as  his  wife,  and  the  other  as 
his  sister.  She  not  unnaturally  refused.  Even  had  she 
been  willing,  when  she  had  passed  her  seventieth  birthday, 
to  marry  once  more,  she  must  have  speedily  realised  that  she 
did  not  occupy  the  first  place  in  Disraeli's  affections.  For 
though  it  was  to  Lady  Chesterfield,  as  the  only  sister  who 
was  free,  that  he  proposed  marriage,  it  was  to  Lady  Brad- 
ford that  he  was  most  tenderly  attached.  He  wrote  to  her 
more  than  twice  as  many  letters  as  he  did  to  her  sister,  some- 
times, when  in  office,  sending  her  two,  or  even  three,  in  one 
day,  by  special  messengers  from  Downing  Street  or  from 
the  Treasury  bench.  Such  messengers,  he  wrote,  *  may  wait 
at  your  house  the  whole  day,  and  are  the  slaves  of  your  will. 
A  messenger  from  a  Prime  Minister  to  a  Mistress  of  the 
Horse  cannot  say  his  soul  is  his  own.'  Romantic  devotion 
breathes  in  Disraeli's  language  to  both  sisters;  but  the 

i  The  Duke  of  Richmond  told  Cairns  on  July  27,  1876,  that  Lady 
Bradford  '  seems  to  know  everything,  down  to  the  most  minute  details 
of  everything  that  passes.' 

242  LADY  BRADFORD  [CHAP,  vn 

Oriental  extravagance  of  his  sentiments  is  beyond  a  doubt 
more  marked  when  he  is  addressing  Lady  Bradford.  The 
correspondence  with  Lady  Chesterfield,  in  spite  of  the  offer 
and  refusal,  preserves  on  the  whole  an  even  tone  of  deeply 
affectionate  friendship.  But  Lady  Bradford  was  often 
taken  aback  by  Disraeli's  septuagenarian  ardour,  and  em- 
barrassed by  his  incessant  calls  at  her  house  in  Belgrave 
Square  and  his  unending  demands  on  her  time;  though 
she,  as  well  as  her  sister,  could  not  but  be  flattered  by  the 
assiduous  attentions  of  one  who  was  for  the  greater  part  of 
the  last  eight  years  of  his  life  the  most  famous  and  admired 
man  in  the  country. 

The  relation  between  Disraeli  and  these  sisters  can  hardly 
fail  to  recall  the  relation  between  Horace  Walpole,  in  the 
last  decade  of  his  long  life,  and  the  two  Miss  Berrys. 
There  was  the  same  affection  in  each  case  for  two  sisters; 
the  same  desire  to  marry  one,  in  order  to  insure  the  con- 
stant society  of  both.  The  Miss  Berrys,  however,  were  in* 
the  twenties  when  Horace  Walpole  made  their  acquaintance ; 
whereas  Lady  Chesterfield  was  over  seventy  and  Lady  Brad- 
ford was  in  her  fifty-fifth  year  when  Disraeli's  attachment 
began.  But  Disraeli's  chivalrous  devotion  to  women  was 
independent  of  physical  attraction  and  the  appeal  of  youth. 
Otherwise  his  elderly  wife  —  not  to  speak  of  Mou  Willyams 
and  others  —  would  hardly  have  influenced  him  as  she  did 
to  the  day  of  her  death.  Though  the  Russian  Ambassador 
might  sneer  at  the  society  which  Disraeli  in  his  latter  years 
affected  as  toutes  grand'meres,  it  is  a  most  honourable 
feature  in  his  composition  that,  in  his  relation  to  women, 
as  in  his  relation  to  the  problems  of  life  and  eternity,  he 
rejected  absolutely  any  physical  or  sensuous  standard,  and 
poured  out  his  devotion  before  an  ideal,  regardless  of  the 
ravages  of  care  and  time. 

The  characters  of  the  two  sisters  were  complementary; 
Lady  Chesterfield  had  more  strength  and  constancy,  Lady 
Bradford  more  sweetness  and  gaiety ;  both  were  sympathetic 
in  a  high  degree.  Lady  Bradford,  as  befitted  the  mother 

1873-1874]  DISRAELI'S  DEVOTION  243 

of  marriageable  daughters,  was  in  the  full  whirl  of  society, 
a  constant  attendant  at  the  functions  of  the  London  season, 
and  at  the  principal  race  meetings,  moving  in  the  autumn 
from  one  country  house  party  to  another.  Lady  Cheater- 
field,  a  much  older  woman,  though  taking  a  fair  share  of 
social  pleasures,  was  more  often  to  be  found,  surrounded 
by  friends,  in  her  own  home  at  Bretby.  Lady  Bradford 
had  perhaps  a  quicker  appreciation  of  Disraeli's  moods  and 
aspirations,  but  was  by  no  means  so  certain  to  respond  to 
them  as  her  sister.  Writing  to  Lady  Bradford,  in  January, 
1874,  he  said  of  Lady  Chesterfield  that  *  the  secret  of  her 
charm  is  the  union  of  grace  and  energy ;  a  union  very  rare, 
but  in  her  case  most  felicitous.'  Of  Lady  Bradford's  own 
character  he  wrote  to  herself  in  May  of  that  year :  l  A 
sweet  simplicity,  blended  with  high  breeding;  an  intellect 
not  over-drilled,  but  lively,  acute,  and  picturesque ;  a  sera- 
phic temper,  and  a  disposition  infinitely  sympathetic  — 
these  are  some  of  the  many  charms  that  make  you  beloved 
of  D.' 

The  fervid  nature  of  Disraeli's  devotion  will  be  realised 
from  a  letter  which  he  wrote  to  Lady  Bradford  three  weeks 
after  becoming  Prime  Minister  for  the  second  time.  She 
and  Lady  Chesterfield  were  leaving  London  for  the  coun- 
try; and  a  separation  which  was  only  to  last  from  the 
middle  of  March  till  the  first  week  of  April  filled  him  with 

To  Lady  Bradford. 

10,  DOWNING  STREET,  WHITEHALL,  March  13,  1874. —  The  moat 
fascinating  of  women  was  never  more  delightful  than  this  after- 
noon. I  could  have  sat  for  ever,  watching  every  movement 
that  was  grace,  and  listening  to  her  speaking  words  —  but  alas ! 
the  horrid  thought,  ever  and  anon,  came  over  me  — '  It  is  a 
farewell  visit.'  It  seemed  too  cruel!  I  might  have  truly  said, 

Pleased  to  the  last,  I  cropped  the  flowery  food, 
And  kissed  the  hand  just  raised  to  shed  my  blood. 

Constant  separations!  Will  they  never  cease?  If  anything 
could  make  me  love  your  delightful  sister  more  than  I  do,  it  is 
her  plans  for  Easter,  which  realise  a  dream! 

244  LADY  BRADFORD  [CHAP,  vn 

I  am  certain  there  is  no  greater  misfortune,  than  to  have  a 
heart  that  will  not  grow  old.  It  requires  all  the  sternness  of 
public  life  to  sustain  one.  If  we  have  to  govern  a  great  country, 
we  ought  not  to  be  distrait,  and  feel  the  restlessness  of  love. 
Such  things  should  be  the  appanage  of  the  youthful  heroes  I 
have  so  often  painted,  but  alas!  I  always  drew  from  my  own 
experience,  and  were  I  to  write  again  to-morrow,  I  fear  I  should 
be  able  to  do  justice  to  the  most  agitating,  tho'  the  most  amiable, 
weakness  of  humanity. 

Writing  to  Lady  Chesterfield  of  the  same  farewell  visit 
Disraeli  said :  '  The  matchless  sisters,  as  I  always  call 
them,  were  never  so  delightful  as  yesterday  afternoon,'  and 
he  proceeded  to  use  to  her  much  the  same  language  as  to 
Lady  Bradford.  Lady  Chesterfield,  the  widow,  accepted 
the  compliment  without  demur:  but  Lady  Bradford,  the 
wife,  was  offended  by  the  extravagance  of  his  expressions. 
Disraeli  assumed,  in  return,  the  airs  of  a  despairing  lover. 

To  Lady  Bradford. 

10,  DOWNING  STREET,  March  17,  1874. —  I  sent  you  a  hurried 
line  this  morning,  as  I  thought  it  my  only  opportunity  of  writ- 
ing, and  I  did  not  wish  you  to  think  I  was  silent,  because  I 
was  'tetchy.'  I  have  just  come  back  from  W[indsor],  and  I 
send  you  this,  because  I  think  it  may  prevent  misapprehension. 

Your  view  of  correspondence,  apparently,  is  that  it  should 
be  confined  to.  facts,  and  not  admit  feelings.  Mine  is  the  reverse ; 
and  I  could  as  soon  keep  a  journal,  wh.  I  never  could  do,  as 
maintain  a  correspondence  of  that  kind. 

The  other  day  you  said  it  was  wonderful  that  I  cd.  write  to 
you,  with  all  the  work  and  care  I  have  to  encounter.  It  is 
because  my  feelings  impel  me  to  write  to  you.  It  was  my  duty 
and  my  delight :  the  duty  of  my  heart  and  the  delight  of  my  life. 

I  do  not  think  I  was  very  unreasonable.  I  have  never  asked 
anything  from  you  but  your  society.  When  I  have  that,  I  am 
content,  which  I  may  well  be,  for  its  delight  is  ineffable.  When 
we  were  separated,  the  loneliness  of  my  life  found  some  relief  in 
what  might  have  been  a  too  fond  idolatry. 

The  menace  of  perpetual  estrangement  seemed  a  severe  punish- 
ment for  what  might  have  been  a  weakness,  but  scarcely  an  un- 
pardonable one.  However  you  shall  have  no  cause  to  inflict  it. 
I  awake  from  a  dream  of  baffled  sympathy,  and  pour  forth  my 
feelings,  however  precious,  from  a  golden  goblet,  on  the  sand. 


( I  thought  all  was  over  between  us/  he  wrote  in  his 
next  letter;  but  two  days  afterwards  the  difference  was 
made  up ;  '  I  found  a  letter,  which  took  a  load  off  my  heart, 
and  I  pressed  it  to  my  lips.'  This  lovers'  comedy  was 
repeated  with  Lady  Bradford  over  and  over  again  during 
the  early  years  of  the  1874  Administration.  The  septu- 
agenarian, who  had  the  governance  of  the  Empire  and  the 
conduct  of  the  Commons  on  his  shoulders,  and  who  neces- 
sarily was  leading  a  public  life  of  incessant  and  laborious 
occupation,  nevertheless  traversed  in  his  private  life  the 
whole  gamut  of  half-requited  love  —  passionate  devotion, 
rebuff,  despair,  resignation,  renewed  hope,  reconciliation, 
ecstasy;  and  then  traversed  it  da  capo.  One  such  crisis 
occurred  in  connection  with  a  masked  ball  in  the  height 
of  the  season  of  1874. 

To  Lady  Bradford. 

H.  OF  O.,  June  29,  1874. —  I  am  distressed  at  the  relations 
which  have  arisen  between  us,  and,  after  two  days'  reflection, 
I  have  resolved  to  write  once  more. 

I  went  to  Mantagu  House  on  Friday  with  great  difficulty,  to 
see  you,  and  to  speak  to  you  on  a  matter  of  interest  to  me.  I 
thought  your  manner  was  chilling:  you  appeared  to  avoid  me, 
and  when  —  perhaps  somewhat  intrusively,  but  I  had  no  other 
chance,  for  I  saw  you  were  on  the  point  of  quitting  me  —  I 
suggested  some  mode  by  which  we  might  recognise  each  other 
at  the  ball,  you  only  advised  me  not  to  go! 

Your  feelings  to  me  are  not  the  same  as  mine  have  been  to 
you.  That  is  natural  and  reasonable.  Mine  make  me  sensitive 
and  perhaps  exigeant,  and  render  my  society  in  public  embarrass- 
ing to  you,  and  therefore  not  agreeable.  Unfortunately  for  me, 
my  imagination  did  not  desert  me  with  my  youth.  I  have  always 
felt  this  a  great  misfortune.  It  would  have  involved  me  in 
calamities,  bad  not  nature  bestowed  on  me,  and  in  a  large  degree, 
another  quality  —  the  sense  of  the  ridiculous. 

That  has  given  me  many  intimations,  during  some  months; 
but,  in  the  turbulence  of  my  heart,  I  was  deaf  to  them.  Re- 
flection, however,  is  irresistible ;  and  I  cannot  resist  certainly  the 
conviction  that  much  in  my  conduct  to  you,  during  this  year, 
has  been  absurd. 

On  Friday  night,  I  had  written  to  you  to  forget  it,  and  to 

246  LADY  BRADFORD  [CHAP,  vn 

forget  me.  But  I  linger  round  the  tie  on  which  I  had  staked 
my  happiness.  You  may  deride  my  weakness,  but  I  wished 
you  to  know  my  inward  thoughts,  and  that  you  should  not  think 
of  me  as  one  who  was  ungrateful  or  capricious. 

2,  WHITEHALL  GARDENS,  Wedy.  [?  July  1]. —  Your  note  has 
just  reached  me.  It  w*as  unexpected  and  delightful.  I  am 
touched  by  your  writing  so  spontaneously,  for  my  stupid  words 
did  not  deserve  a  response.  ...  I  am  glad  you  think  I  am 
1  better  and  wiser  of  late.'  I  feel  I  am  changed,  but  I  am  much 

Thursday  [July  2,  1874]. — .  .  .  I  regret  to  tell  you  that  my 
enemy  attacked  me  in  the  night,  and  I  am  obliged  to  go  down 
to  the  Ho.  of  C.  in  a  black  velvet  shoe,  of  Venetian  fashion, 
part  of  my  dress  for  that  unhappy  masqued  ball,  my  absence 
from  wh.  causes  such  endless  inquiries  wh.  exhaust  even  my 
imagination  for  replies.  .  .  . 

Lady  .Chesterfield  was  in  the  secret  of  this  misunder- 
standing, and  to  her  Disraeli  humorously  explained  how 
he  had  obtained  a  pleasant  revenge  for  Lady  Bradford's 
treatment  of  him. 

To  Anne  Lady  Chesterfield. 

2,  WHITEHALL  GARDENS,  Thursday  [July  9,  1874]. — .  .  .  Yes- 
terday was  very  agreeable  at  the  Palace.  I  found  a  seat  next 
to  Selina,  and  I  took  her  to  supper.  She  was  standing  by  me 
in  the  royal  circle,  when  the  P.  of  Wales,  Princess,  Princess 
Mary,  and  others,  came  up  in  turn,  and  asked  why  I  had  not  been 
at  the  masqued  ball.  I  said  to  some,  '  It  was  a  secret,  and 
that  I  was  bound  not  to  tell.'  I  said  to  the  Princess  of  Wales, 
that  I  was  dressed  in  my  domino  and  about  to  go,  when  a  fair 
Venetian  gave  me  a  goblet  of  aqua  tofana,  and  I  sank  to  the 
ground  in  a  state  of  asphyxia.  Selina  heard  all  this!  .  .  . 

Here  is  another  self -revealing  letter  after  a  rebuff : 

To  Lady  Bradford. 

2,  WHITEHALL  GARDENS,  Aug.  3,  1874. — .  .  .  To  love  as  I  love, 
and  rarely  to  see  the  being  one  adores,  whose  constant  society 
is  absolutely  necessary  to  my  life ;  to  be  precluded  even  from  the 
only  shadowy  compensation  for  such  a  torturing  doom  —  the 
privilege  of  relieving  my  heart  by  expressing  its  affection  —  is 
a  lot  which  I  never  could  endure,  and  cannot. 

1874-1875]  JEALOUS  AFFECTION  247 

But  for  my  strange  position,  wh.  enslaves,  while  it  elevates, 
me,  I  would  fly  for  ever,  as  I  often  contemplate,  to  some  beauti- 
ful solitude,  and  relieve,  in  ideal  creation,  the  burthen  of  such 
a  dark  and  harassing  existence.  But  the  iron  laws  of  a  stern 
necessity  seen  to  control  our  lives,  and  with  all  the  daring  and 
all  the  imagination  in  the  world,  conscious  or  unconscious,  we 
are  slaves.  .  .  . 

This  is  rather  a  long  scribblement :  pardon  that,  for  it  is  prob- 
ably one  of  the  last  letters  I  shall  ever  send  you.  My  mind  is 
greatly  disturbed  and  dissatisfied.  I  require  perfect  solitude  or 
perfect  sympathy.  My  present  life  gives  me  neither  of  these 
ineffable  blessings.  It  may  be  brilliant,  but  it  is  too  fragmen- 
tary. It  is  not  a  complete  existence.  It  gives  me  neither  the 
highest  development  of  the  intellect  or  the  heart;  neither  Poetry 
nor  Love. 

And  here,  from  the  correspondence  of  1875,  are  letters 
betraying  various  moods  of  jealous  and  unsatisfied  affec- 

To  Lady  Bradford. 

2,  WHITEHALL  GARDENS,  Feb.  24,  1875.—  I  should  grieve  if  the 
being  to  whom  I  am  entirely  devoted  shd.  believe  for  a  moment 
that  I  am  unreasonable  and  capricious.  Therefore  I  will  con- 
dense in  a  few  lines  a  remark  or  two  on  a  topic  to  which  I  hope 
never  to  recur. 

You  have  said  that  I  prefer  your  letters  to  your  society.  On 
the  contrary,  a  single  interview  with  you  is  worth  a  hundred 
even  of  your  letters,  tho'  they  have  been,  for  more  than  a  year, 
the  charm  and  consolation  of  my  life.  But  I  confess  I  have 
found  a  contrast  between  yr.  letters  and  yr.  general  demeanor 
to  me,  which  has  often  perplexed,  and  sometimes  pained,  me: 
and  it  is  only  in  recurring  to  those  letters  that  I  have  found 

Something  happened  a  little  while  ago,  wh.,  according  to  my 
sad  interpretation,  threw  a  light  over  this  contrariety;  but  it 
was  a  light  wh.  revealed,  at  the  same  time,  the  ruin  of  my  heart 
and  hopes.  I  will  not  tell  you  how  much  I  have  suffered.  I 
became  quite  dejected,  and  could  scarcely  carry  on  public  affairs. 

But  the  sweetness  of  your  appeal  to  me  yesterday,  and  the 
radiant  innocence  of  yr.  countenance,  entirely  overcame  me; 
and  convinced  me  that  I  had  misapprehended  the  past,  and  that 
the  mutual  affection,  on  wh.  I  had  staked  the  happiness  of  my 
remaining  days,  was  not  a  dream. 

248  LADY  BRADFORD  [CHAP,  vn 

March  21. — .  .  .  It  [a  letter  Disraeli  wished  to  show  Lady 
Bradford]  will  keep  till  my  next  visit  after  yr.  return  from 
France,  if  you  ever  do  return,  and  if  ever  I  pay  you  another 
visit.  These  things  much  depend  on  habit,  unless  there  is  a 
very  strong  feeling  such  as  sincerely  actuated  me  when,  last 
year,  I  said  I  cd.  not  contemplate  life  without  seeing  you  every 
day.  I  feel  very  much  like  poor  King  Lear  with  his  knights; 
half  my  retinue  was  cut  down  before  you  went  to  Kimbolton: 
'  three  times  a  week '  was  then  accorded  me.  When  you  return 
from  your  foreign  travel,  wh.  wonderfully  clears  the  brain  of 
former  impressions,  there  will  be  a  further  reduction  of  my 
days;  till,  at  last,  the  dreary  and  inevitable  question  comes, 
'Why  one?' 

Don't  misunderstand  this.  This  is  not  what  you  call  a  '  scold- 
ing.' It  is  misery:  that  horrible  desolation  wh.  the  lonely  alone 
can  feel.  .  .  . 

I  have  given  this  morning  the  Constableship  of  the  Tower 
to  General  Sir  Chas.  Yorke,  G.C.B.  I  keep  the  Isle  of  Man 
still  open :  open  till  you  have  quite  broken  my  heart. 

July  4. — .  .  .  I  hardly  had  a  word  with  you  to-day,  and  cd. 
not  talk  of  to-morrow!  I  wonder  if  I  shall  see  you  to-morrow! 
Not  to  see  you  is  a  world  without  a  sun.  .  .  . 

I  wonder  whom  you  will  sit  bet  [wee]  n  to-day,  and  talk  to, 
and  delight  and  fascinate.  I  am  always  afraid  of  your  dining 
at  houses  like  Gerard's,  in  my  absence.  I  feel  horribly  jeal[ous]  ; 

I  cannot  help  it. 

In  such  moods  I  sometimes  read  what  was  written  to  me  only 
a  year  ago  —  tho'  that's  a  long  time  —  words  written  by  a 
sylph,  'Have  confidence  in  me,  believe  in  me,  believe  that  I  am 
true  —  oh !  how  true ! ' 

Even  if  one  cannot  believe  these  words,  it  is  something  to 
have  them  to  read  —  and  to  bless  the  being  who  wrote  them. 

Make  what  discount  we  may  for  Disraeli's  tendency  to 
extravagance  and  exaggeration,  especially  in  his  address 
to  women,  it  is  impossible,  after  reading  his  letters  to 
Lady  Bradford,  to  doubt  the  reality  and  depth,  of  his  at- 
tachment. During  one  year,  1874,  we  find  such  expres- 
sions as  the  following :  '  To  see  you,  or  at  least  to  hear 
from  you,  every  day,  is  absolutely  necessary  to  my  existence.' 

I 1  have  lived  to  know  the  twilight  of  love  has  its  splendor 
and  its  richness.'     '  To  see  you  in  society  is  a  pleasure 
peculiar  to  itself;  but  different  from  that  of  seeing  you 


From  a  portrait  after  Sir  F.  Grant,  P.R.A.,  at  Hughenden. 

1874-1875]  SELINA— 'THE  MOON'  249 

alone;  both  are  enchanting,  like  moonlight  and  sunshine.' 
'  It  is  not  "  a  slice  of  the  moon"  I  want;  I  want  it  all.' 
Playful  references  of  this  kind  to  the  meaning  in  Greek 
of  Lady  Bradford's  Christian  name  Selina  — '  the  moon  ' 
—  are  plentiful  in  the  correspondence.  In  one  letter  Dis- 
raeli explained  the  different  nature  of  his  feelings  towards 
the  two  sisters. 

To  Lady  Bradford. 

2,  WHITEHALL  GARDENS,  Nov.  3,  1874. — .  .  .  I  am  sorry  your 
sister  is  coming  to  town.  She  will  arrive  when  I  am  absorbed 
with  affairs,  and  will  apparently  be  neglected  and  will  probably 
think  so.  This  will  add  to  my  annoyances,  for  I  have  a  great 
regard  for  her.  I  love  her,  not  only  because  she  is  your  sister 
and  a  link  between  us,  but  because  she  has  many  charming 
qualities.  But  when  you  have  the  government  of  a  country  on 
your  shoulders,  to  love  a  person  and  to  be  in  love  with  a  person 
makes  all  the  difference.  In  the  first  case,  everything  that  dis- 
tracts your  mind  from  yr.  great  purpose,  weakens  and  wearies 
you.  In  the  second  instance,  the  difficulty  of  seeing  your  beloved, 
or  communicating  with  her,  only  animates  and  excites  you.  I 
have  devised  schemes  of  seeing,  or  writing  to,  you  in  the  midst 
of  stately  councils,  and  the  thought  and  memory  of  you,  instead 
of  being  an  obstacle,  has  been  to  me  an  inspiration. 

You  said  in  one  of  yr.  letters  that  I  complained  that  you  did 
not  appreciate  me.  Never!  Such  a  remark,  on  my  part,  wd. 
have  been,  in  the  highest  degree,  conceited  and  coxcombical. 
What  I  said  was:  You  did  not  appreciate  my  love;  that  is  to 
say,  you  did  not  justly  estimate  either  its  fervor  or  its  depth. 

The  affection  between  Disraeli  and  Lady  Chesterfield  had 
none  of  the  alternations  of  hot  and  cold  that  marked  his 
relation  with  her  sister.  Here  there  was  steady  warmth 
and  steady  devotion;  and  he  could  always  count  upon  con- 
solation from  her  when,  as  often  happened,  he  was  rebuffed 
by  what  he  called  Lady  Bradford's  '  irresistible,  but  cold, 
control.'  Though  his  passion  was  less,  yet  in  his  method 
of  address  he  was  more  ardent  to  Lady  Chesterfield  than  to 
the  other.  The  letters  to  Lady  Bradford  generally  start 
without  any  prefatory  endearments;  but  Lady  Chesterfield 
was  '  dearest,  dearest  Lady  Ches./  '  dearest  of  women,' 
'  charming  playfellow,'  and  finally,  in  most  of  the  letters 

250  LADY  BRADFORD  [CHAP,  vn 

after  the  first  year  or  two,  '  dear  darling ' ;  and  we  find  such 
expressions  as  '  whatever  happens  to  me  in  the  world  I 
shall  always  love  you ' ;  and  after  an  attack  of  gout  at 
Bretby,  '  Adieu,  dear  and  darling  friend,  I  have  no  language 
to  express  to  you  my  entire  affection.'  It  might  not  always 
suit  Lady  Bradford  to  have  him  at  Weston  or  Castle  Brom- 
wich ;  but  Bretby  was  constantly  open  to  him,  and  his  table 
in  London  and  at  Hughenden  was  regularly  furnished  with 
the  produce  of  its  gardens,  its  dairy,  its  poultry  farm,  and 
its  coverts.  '  My  dearest,  darling  friend/  he  wrote  on  one 
occasion  to  Lady  Chesterfield,  'you  literally  scatter  flowers 
and  fruit  over  my  existence.' 

To  Anne  Lady  Chesterfield. 

2,  WHITEHALL  GARDENS,  March  6,  1875. — .  .  .  It  is  a  long 
time  since  [Contarini  Fleming]  was  born  —  some  years  before  I 
had  the  pleasure  of  meeting  you  at  Wycombe  Abbey,  and  fell 
in  love  with  your  brilliant  eyes  flashing  with  grace  and  triumph 
—  and  wh.  cd.  hardly  spare  a  glance,  then,  to  poor  me.  But 
now  I  am  rewarded  for  my  early  homage,  and,  amid  the  cares 
of  empire,  can  find  solace  in  cherishing  your  sweet  affections. . . . 

Such  was  the  nature  of  the  attachments  that  gave  bright- 
ness and  colour  to  the  last  eight  years  of  Disraeli's  life. 
It  must  not  be  supposed  that  there  was  in  them  any  unfaith- 
fulness to  the  memory  of  a  wife  who  had  herself  laid  on 
him  her  injunctions  to  find  consolation  in  others.  He  never 
forgot  her  and  his  happiness  with  her;  his  poignant  regret 
and  his  loneliness  without  her  are  the  frequent  theme  of 
his  letters.  On  one  Queen's  birthday  during  his  great 
Ministry  he  was  looking  with  Lord  Redesdale  at  the  elaborate 
preparations  for  his  official  banquet,  '  when  all  of  a  sudden,' 
his  companion  tells  us,  *  he  turned  round,  his  eyes  were  dim, 
and  his  voice  husky,  as  he  said,  "  Ah !  my  dear  fellow,  you 
are  happy,  you  have  a  wife."  He  always  maintained 
the  signs  of  mourning;  the  whole  of  his  correspondence 
with  the  sisters,  as  with  others,  save  on  a  few  occasions 
when,  being  away  from  home,  he  had  to  fall  back  on  local 
stationery,  was  written  on  paper  with  a  deep  black  edging ; 

1873-1875]     LADY  BEACONSFIELD'S  MEMORY  251 

nor  did  he  feel  that  there  was  any  incongruity  in  inscribing 
protestations  of  devotion  to  the  living  on  pages  which  re- 
called by  their  very  appearance  the  memory  of  the  dead. 

To  Lady  Bradford. 

HUGHENDEN  MANOR,  Sept.  27,  1875. — .  .  .  You  said  you  were 
glad  to  see  '  white  paper '  the  other  day.  It  is  strange,  but  I 
always  used  to  think  that  the  Queen,  persisting  in  these  emblems 
of  woe,  indulged  in  a  morbid  sentiment;  and  yet  it  has  become 
my  lot,  and  seemingly  an  irresistible  one.  I  lost  one  who  was 
literally  devoted  to  me,  tho'  I  was  not  altog[ethe]r  worthy  of 
her  devotion;  and  when  I  have  been  on  the  point  sometimes  of 
terminating  this  emblem  of  my  bereavement,  the  thought  that 
there  was  no  longer  any  being  in  the  world  to  whom  I  was  an 
object  of  concentrated  feeling  overcame  me,  and  the  sign  re- 

Once  —  perhaps  twice  —  during  the  last  two  years,  I  have 
indulged  in  a  wild  thought  it  might  -be  otherwise;  and  then 
something  has  always  occurred,  wh.  has  dashed  me  to  the 
earth.  ...  . 

These  new  sentimental  relations  were  springing  up  during 
the  second  portion  of  the  session  of  1873,  after  the  reluctant 
return  of  the  discredited  Ministers  to  their  places.  In 
the  House  of  Commons  Disraeli  continued  on  the  whole  his 
policy  of  reserve,  assured  that  his  opportunity  must  come 
before  long.  His  main  political  activity  was  behind  the 
scenes,  preparing  with  his  whips  and  his  party  manager  for 
a  dissolution  which  could  hardly  be  postponed  beyond  the 
next  year,  rather  than  in  the  House  itself  where  there  was 
not  much  contentious  business. 

To  Montagu  Corry. 

April  5,  '73. —  It  will  be  impossible  to  get  a  Tory  majority, 
if  lukewarmness,  or  selfishness  of  those  who  have  a  safe  seat, 
prevent  contests.  There  are  more  than  30  seats  in  this  predica- 
ment, and  I  have  appointed  a  small  committee  of  men  of  social 
influence  to  take  them  in  hand:  Lord  J.  Manners,  Barrington, 
Chaplin  or  Mahon. 

I  hope  you  are  better.  I  am  well  enough,  but  wretchedly 
low-spirited.  .  .  . 

252  LADY  BRADFORD  [CHAP,  vn 

To  William,  Hart  DyJee. 

HUGHENDEN  MANOR,  April  15,  1873. — .  .  .  Lady  Derby  writes 
to  me  this  morning,  that  she  means  to  give  assemblies  on  29th 
inst.  and  6th  May,  and  if  somebody  could  send  her  a  list  of  names 
to  St.  Jas.  Sqre.,  marked  to  be  forwarded,  she  would  work  at 
the  list.  If,  therefore,  you  could  forward  her  a  catalogue  of 
the  M.Ps.,  their  wives  and  dau[ghte]rs,  that  'she  would  do  well 
to  invite,'  business  wd.  be  advanced. 

I  think,  from  what  Miladi  said  to  me  when  I  last  saw  her, 
that  she  wished  a  little  discretion  to  be  exercised  in  the  trans- 
action. An  overplus  of  quizzes  neutralises  the  distinction,  and 
it  is  better  that  she  shd.  be  encouraged  to  give  more  parties  than 
to  swamp  her  good  intentions  and  make  her  feel  her  receptions 
are  a  failure. 

To  Montagu  Corry. 

May  17,  '73. —  The  Government  continues  in  a  discredited 
state,  but  we  have  not  availed  ourselves,  as  much  as  we  ought 
to  have  done,  of  several  recent  opportunities.  The  causes,  or 
probable  causes,  of  this,  I  must  keep  till  we  meet.  It  seems  that 
the  Ministry  will  totter  through  the  session,  though  at  present, 
the  decomposition  of  '  the  great  Liberal  party '  is  complete.  It 
still  keeps,  on  the  surface,  together,  from  the  hope,  I  think  a 
vain  one,  that  '  something  will  turn  up '  for  them :  the  last 
resource  of  imbecility  and  exhaustion. 

I  am  not  particularly  well,  and  sent  for  Leggatt  to-day,  and 
am  now  a  prisoner,  besieged  by  this  scathing  easterly  wind.  .  .  . 

Such,  incursions  as  Disraeli  made  in  debate  had  a  dis- 
tinctly electioneering  flavour.  When  the  Budget  was  dis- 
cussed, he  delivered  a  lively  attack  on  Lowe's  finance,  partly 
with  a  view  to  deride  that  eminent  anti-Reformer's  pose  as 
the  friend  of  the  working  man,  and  partly  in  the  interest  of 
that  relief  of  local  taxation  which  the  party  had  championed 
with  success  in  the  previous  year.  But  his  most  interesting 
speech  was  made  in  opposition  to  Osborne  Morgan's  Burials 
Bill,  which  proposed  to  open  the  parish  churchyards  to  Dis- 
senting funerals.  His  view  was  that  by  refusing  to  pay 
church  rates  the  Dissenters  had  publicly  recognised  that 
the  churches  and  churchyard  belonged  to  churchmen;  and 
therefore  if  they  wished  to  use  the  parish  churchyards,  that 
use  must  be,  by  every  principle  of  law  and  equity,  upon 


the  conditions  imposed  by  those  to  whom  they  belonged. 
He  ended  his  speech  by  some  earnest  words  of  advice  to  his 
Nonconformist  fellow-countrymen.  Lord  Grey's  Reform 
Act,  he  said,  had  given  them  great  power,  which  in  many 
cases  they  had  used  wisely. 

So  long  as  they  maintained  toleration,  so  long  as  they  favoured 
religious  liberty,  so  long  as  they  checked  sacerdotal  arrogance, 
they  acted  according  to  their  traditions,  and  those  traditions  are 
not  the  least  noble  in  the  history  of  England.  But  they  have 
changed  their  position.  They  now  make  war,  and  avowedly 
make  war,  upon  the  ecclesiastical  institutions  of  this  country.1 
I  think  they  are  in  error  in  pursuing  that  course.  I  believe 
it  not  to  be  for  their  own  interest.  However  ambiguous  and  dis- 
cursive may  be  the  superficial  aspects  of  the  religious  life  of  this 
country,  the  English  are  essentially  a  religious  people,  .  .  . 
They  look  upon  [the  Church]  instinctively  as  an  institution 
which  vindicates  the  spiritual  nature  of  man,  and  as  a  city  of 
refuge  in  the  strife  and  sorrows  of  existence. 

I  want  my  Nonconformist  friends  to  remember  that  another 
Act  of  Parliament  has  been  passed  affecting  the  circumstances 
of  England  since  the  Act  of  1832.  It  appeals  to  the  heart  of  the 
country.  It  aims  at  emancipation  from  undue  sectarian  in- 
fluence; and  I  do  not  think  that  the  Nonconformist  body  will 
for  the  future  exercise  that  undue  influence  upon  the  returns  to 
this  House,  which  they  have  now  for  forty  years  employed.  .  .  . 
Let  them  not  be  misled  by  the  last  General  Election.  The 
vast  majority  arrayed  against  us  was  not  returned  by  the  new 
constituencies.  It  was  the  traditional  and  admirable  organisa- 
tion of  the  Dissenters  of  England  that  effected  the  triumph  of 
the  right  hon.  gentleman.  They  were  animated  by  a  great  motive 
to  enthusiasm.  They  saw  before  them  the  destruction  of  a 
church.  I  do  not  think  that,  at  the  next  appeal  to  the  people, 
the  Nonconformist  body  will  find  that  the  same  result  can  be 
obtained.  I  say  not  this  by  way  of  taunt,  certainly  not  in  a 
spirit  of  anticipated  triumph.  I  say  it  because  I  wish  the  Non- 
conformist body  to  pause  and  think,  and  to  feel  that  for  the 
future  it  may  be  better  for  them,  instead  of  assailing  the  Church, 
to  find  in  it  a  faithful  and  sound  ally.  There  is  a  common  enemy 
abroad  to  all  churches  and  to  all  religious  bodies.  Their  opin- 
ions rage  on  the  Continent.  Their  poisonous  distillations  have 
entered  even  into  this  isle. 

i  Miall,  the  Nonconformist  spokesman  in  Parliament,  regularly  in- 
troduced motions  for  the  disestablishment  of  the  English  Church. 

254  LADY  BRADFORD  [CHAP,  vn 

The  Dissenters,  distracted  by  the  controversies  over  the 
Education  Act,  were  not  a  determining  force  in  the  1874 
election.  But  their  enthusiastic  support  of  Gladstone's  bag 
and  baggage  policy  went  far  to  settle  the  result  in  1880,  and, 
a  quarter  of  a  century  later,  their  campaign  of  passive 
resistance  was  certainly  one  of  the  causes  which  helped  in 
the  decisive  overthrow  of  the  Unionists  under  Mr.  Balfour. 
On  the  other  hand,  the  life  seems  to  have  gone  out  of  the 
disestablishment  movement,  save  in  regard  to  Wales;  and 
it  "is  noteworthy  that  the  Dissenters  have  never  been  able 
to  secure,  during  many  years  of  Parliaments  in  which  their 
friends  have  always  had  a  considerable  majority,  that 
educational  arrangement  with  a  view  to  which  they  exerted 
themselves  so  strenuously  in  1906. 

As  the  session  drew  to  a  close  there  was  a  painful  out- 
crop of  administrative  scandals  mainly  affecting  mail  con- 
tracts and  telegraphic  extension.  Disraeli,  true  to  his  prac- 
tice of  avoiding  personal  squabbles,  took  little  or  no  part 
in  the  discussion  of  matters  which  reflected  seriously  on  three 
important  members  of  the  Government.  The  main  achieve- 
ment of  Ministers  was  the  Judicature  Act  for  the  reorgan- 
isation of  the  Courts  of  Law  and  Equity.  A  curious  ques- 
tion of  privilege  arose  during  the  passage  of  this  measure. 
The  Commons  made  an  amendment  which  no  less  an  au- 
thority than  Cairns  declared  to  be  a  breach  of  the  Lords' 
privileges.  It  was  rather  a  storm  in  a  teacup,  but  it  gave 
Disraeli  an  opportunity  to  show  his  quality. 

To  Lord  Cairns. 

12,  GEORGE  STREET,  HANOVER  SQUARE,  July  15. —  Misled  by 
Gladstone,  who  bewildered  me  in  the  most  Jesuitical  manner,  I 
dined  at  Grillion's,  and  lingered  there,  and  was  going  home  when 
I  heard  Frdk.  Cavendish,  G.'s  private  secretary,  say  to  Hardy 
'  about  this  time  the  privilege  is  on.'  Hardy  seemed  astonished, 
and  maintained  it  was  impossible.  However  I  thought  I  would 
go  down  to  the  House.  I  found  it  on,  and  nearly  finished,  and 
G.  was  concluding  when  I  entered,  with  my  wits  scarcely  col- 
lected. However,  I  went  at  it,  and  tho'  I  should  have  spoken 
much  better,  if  I  had  remained  at  the  House,  and  went  almost 


breathless  into  battle,  I  still  got  the  materials  of  the  case  fairly 
out,  and  am  now  going  down  to  the  House  to  resume  the  fight 
if  G.  chooses. 

From  Lord  Cairns. 

5,  CROMWELL  HOUSES,  W.,  July  15,  1873. —  I  think  the  dinner 
at  Grillion's  must  have  been  a  most  happy  preparation  for  the 
speech:  at  all  events,  nothing  could,  in  my  opinion,  have  been 
more  successful  in  at  once  putting  before  the  House  the  sub- 
stance and  truth  of  the  precedents;  in  maintaining  the  proper 
attitude  of  the  House  of  Commons  on  such  an  occasion;  and 
in  covering  the  Govt.  with  ridicule  for  their  terror-stricken  and 
undignified  attitude. 

As  soon  as  the  session  was  over  Gladstone  effected  a 
very  considerable  reconstruction  of  his  Government.  The 
Ministers  chiefly  concerned  in  the  Post  Office  irregularities, 
of  whom  Lowe  was  one,  could  not  remain  longer  in  their 
existing  places ;  and,  in  the  course  of  the  shuffle,  Gladstone 
took  himself  the  Chancellorship  of  the  Exchequer  in  addi- 
tion to  his  previous  office,  and  Bright,  who  had  a  year  or  two 
before  left  the  Cabinet  owing  to  ill-health,  re-entered  it  as 
Chancellor  of  the  Duchy.  But  nothing  could  stem  the  un- 
popularity of  the  Government.  They  continued  during  the 
autumn  to  lose  seat  after  seat  at  by-elections :  in  August,  at 
Shaftesbury,  East  Staffordshire,  and  Greenwich ;  in  Septem- 
ber, at  Dover  and  in  Renfrewshire;  in  October,  at  Hull; 
and  in  December,  at  Exeter.  Many  of  the  vacancies  were 
caused  by  Ministerial  promotions,  so  that  the  verdict  of 
public  opinion  was  particularly  marked  and  particularly 

Disraeli  went  down  to  Hughenden  before  the  end  of 
July,  and  spent  a  quiet  time  in  examining  and  sorting  his 
own  papers  and  his  wife's;  burrowing  among  those  treas- 
ures which  have  formed  the  basis  of  this  biography.  His 
letters  to  old  and  new  friends  show  both  how  he  felt  his 
loneliness  in  the  country  home  of  his  wedded  life,  and  the 
way  in  which  he  regarded  the  political  scene,  in  which,  for 
many  weeks,  he  refused  to  take  an  active  part. 

256  LADY  BRADFORD  [CHAP,  vn 

To  Montagu  Corry. 

HUGHENDEN,  July  30. —  I  came  down  here  with  a  resolve  to 
get  the  house  in  complete  order,  and  worked  yesterday  to  my 
satisfaction.  This  morning  I  determined,  with  all  the  keys,  to 
grapple  with  the  bird's  nest  imbroglio.  The  first  thing  I  wanted 
were  her  private  papers,  etc.,  which  I  thought  were  stowed  in  one 
of  the  new  tin  boxes.  I  have  opened  four,  all  there,  but  cannot 
find  them:  nothing,  apparently,  but  scraps  and  chaos.  I  am 
now  exhausted,  and  have  given  up  the  task,  for  the  day  at  least. 

Can  you  throw  any  light  on  the  matter?  .  .  . 

Aug.  1. — .  .  .  The  Government  really  seems  on  its  last  legs. 
'They  can  gain  no  laurels  in  the  recess.  That  must  be  spent  in 
apologies,  and  explanations;  especially  of  the  discomfitures  and 
imbroglios  of  the  last  fortnight  of  the  session.  They  will,  prob- 
ably, also  lose  every  election,  that  occurs  before  the  reassembling 
of  Parliament. 

The  weather  here  is  delicious,  and  I  have  also  plenty  to  amuse 
me  in  the  house,  in  trying  to  get  the  library  into  perfect  order, 
arranging  pictures  and  so  on;  but  my  great  business  must  be  the 
papers,  and  I  am  about  to  set  at  them  again  forthwith.  I  shall 
not  be  content  until  the  house  is  in  perfect  order.  .  .  . 

Aug.  3. — .  .  .  I  found  the  missing  papers,  and  continue  at 
work  at  their  companions  between  two  and  three  hours  each 
day.  I  cannot  manage  more.  The  progress  is  not  encouraging, 
but  I  feel,  if  I  missed  this  opportunity  in  my  life,  I  should 
probably  never  have  another. 

She  does  not  appear  to  have  destroyed  a  single  scrap  I  ever 
wrote  to  her,  before  or  after  marriage,  and  never  to  have  cut 
my  hair,  which  she  did  every  two  or  three  weeks  for  33  years, 
without  garnering  the  harvest;  so,  as  you  once  asked  for  some 
of  an  early  date,  I  send  you  a  packet,  of  which  I  could  not 
break  the  seal. 

There  are  missing  at  present  two  Russian  sabres,  which  Lord 
Strangford  left  me,  and  a  long  yataghan  in  a  crimson  velvet 
scabbard.  These  arms  were  too  long  to  be  packed  up  with 
the  other  daggers.  Can  you  throw  any  light  on  them?  You 
can  on  most  things. 

Aug.  10. —  Hardy  writes  '  What  does  it  all  mean  ?  Dissolution, 
or  a  more  radical  policy  ? ' 

My  opinion  is,  that  instead  of  dissolution,  it  is  merely  a 
diversion  to  escape  dissolution,  which  was  inevitable,  had  they 
not  done  something.  But  their  reconstruction  is  only  a  sham, 
and  the  idea  of  being  saved  by  the  return  of  that  hysterical  old 

1873]      ARRANGING  PAPERS  AT  HUGHENDEN         -257 

spouter,  Bright,  is  absurd.     As  for  a  policy,  they  are  much  too 
flustered  to  have  any. 

These  great  events  are  exciting,  especially  the  elections,  and 
one  wants  something.  The  business  of  my  life  is  a  most  melan- 
choly one.  I  only  finished  arranging  her  personal  papers  yes- 
terday: and  she  has  died  for  me  100  times  in  the  heartrending, 
but  absolutely  inevitable,  process. 

To  Lord  John  Manners. 

HUGHENDEN  MANOR,  Aug.  28,  '73. —  A  letter  from  a  friend  is 
like  the  sight  of  a  sail  to  one  on  a  desert  isle ;  but  when  it  comes 
from  the  best  and  dearest  of  friends,  it  is  cheering  indeed. 

I  have  been  here  since  the  last  days  of  July,  and  have  never 
been  out  of  the  grounds.  With  one  or  two  casual  exceptions,  I 
have  never  spoken  to  a  human  being.  Among  the  casuals,  be- 
tween ourselves,  was  Sir  Arthur  Helps,  on  his  way  to  Balmoral : 
a  royal  reconnaissance.  It  is  a  dreary  life,  but  I  find  society, 
without  sympathy,  drearier. 

As  for  my  health,  it  is  perfect.  I  have  been  often  told,  and 
I  have  sometimes  thought,  that  the  bronchial  disturbance  from 
which  I  suffered,  was  a  gouty  symptom:  and  so,  two  years  ago,  I 
left  off  sugar,  and  with  advantage.  For  a  month  and  more  I 
have  now  lived  without  wine,  and  my  cure  seems  complete 
Some  stimulus  is  requisite,  but  the  Lord  Rector  of  a  Scotch 
University  has  not  far  to  seek  for  the  necessary  restorative,  tho' 
it  must  be  kept  a  secret  from  the  more  delicate  Southrons. 

I  am  greatly  amused  with  the  fast-drifting  incidents  of  the 
political  scene,  and  so,  I  suspect,  are  some  others  of  higher 
mettle.  I  don't  suppose,  that  Gladstone,  at  present,  has  decided 
on  any  course  whatever,  but  he  will  not  go  out  without  attempt- 
ing something.  I  hear  he  is  deeply  mortified  by  the  utter 
destruction  of  the  prestige  of  his  Administration,  and  that  his 
only  thought  now  is  to,  what  they  call,  re-habilitate  it,  before  it 
disappears.  He  will  find  this  a  hard  task.  .  .  . 

To  Lady  Bradford. 

HUGHENDEN  MANOR,  Aug.  29,  1873. — .  .  .  I  hope  your  visit 
to  Windermere  has  been  enchanting.  They  say  the  weather 
has  been  fitful  in  England  generally,  but  here  we  have  had  a 
summer  of  romance 

On  Wednesday  last,  I  received  from  the  lady  an  announce- 
ment of  the  immediately  impending  event,1  '  as  you  have  always 

i  Lady  Cardigan's  marriage  to  the  Count  de  Lancastre.     Lady  Car- 

258  LADY  BRADFORD  [CHAP,  vn 

taken  so  kind  an  interest  in  my  welfare.'  One  can  scarcely 
congratulate,  but  may  sincerely  wish  her  every  happiness.  It 
sounds  very  bad.  .  .  . 

To  Anne  Lady   Chesterfield. 

HUGHENDEN  MANOR,  Sept.  8,  1873. — .  .  .  I  expected,  when  I 
saw  the  Queen  in  March,  the  decomposition  of  the  Ministry,  but 
it  has  been  more  complete  than  I  contemplated.  Had  Gladstone 
then  gone  out,  uncommitted  on  either  Church  or  education,  and 
the  squabbles  of  his  colleagues  unknown,  he  would  have  gone 
out  with  almost  undiminished  prestige,  and  would  soon  have 
rallied.  The  firm  is  now  insolvent,  and  will  soon  be  bankrupt. 
When  the  Tories  return,  it  will  be  their  own  fault  if  their  reign 
be  not  long  and  glorious.  j/".  . 

To  Sir  Stafford  Northcote. 

Confidential.  HUGHENDEN  MANOR,  Sept.  11,  1873. — You  can- 
not take  too  decided  a  line  about  Ashantee,  barring  prophecies, 
like  Lowe,  of  the  indubitable  failure  of  the  expedition.  The 
great  point  to  insist  on,  after  indicating  the  dangers  and  the 
chances  of  failure,  is  the  want  of  analogy  between  the  Ashantee 
and  the  Abyssinian  cases.  What  is  the  cause  of  quarrel?  If 
the  Ash.  want  commercial  access  to  the  coast,  wh.  they  always 
used  to  have,  their  claim  does  not  seem  unreasonable :  a  matter 
certainly  that  ought  to  admit  of  arrangement.  .  .  . 

The  country  is  deadly  to  Europeans.  Black  troops  may  live 
in  it,  but,  then,  they  won't  fight.  But  above  all  there  are  no 

digan's  story  in  her  Recollections  that  Disraeli  himself  made  her  an 
offer  of  marriage  may  safely  be  disregarded.  Apart  from  the  im- 
probability of  a  statesman  in  Disraeli's  position  desiring  to  marry  a 
woman  of  a  somewhat  equivocal  reputation,  there  were  only  eight 
months  —  between  December,  1872,  when  he  became  a  widower,  and 
August,  1873,  when  she  married  a  second  time  —  in  which  a  proposal 
of  marriage  was  possible  from  him  to  her;  and  these  were  months 
when  he  was  forming  other  attachments.  She  narrows  the  time  still 
more  by  placing  the  occurrence  in  the  hunting  season  —  in  other 
words,  very  shortly  indeed  after  Lady  Beaconsfield's  death.  By  way 
of  corroboration  she  states  that  she  asked  and  obtained  the  advice 
of  the  then  Prince  of  Wales,  whom  she  encountered  at  a  meet  at 
Belvoir,  whether  she  should  accept;  but,  when  the  book  was  pub- 
lished, King  Edward  told  his  personal  friends  that  no  such  conversa- 
tion had  taken  place.  It  is,  of  course,  possible  that  there  was  a  ques- 
tion of  marriage  between  Lady  Cardigan  and  Disraeli  in  the  sense  that 
she  proposed  to  him  and  he  declined.  There  is,  certainly,  in  the 
Recollections  a  striking  exhibition  of  spite  against  Lady  Bradford,  as 
well  as  a  tendency  to  disparage  Disraeli.  Moreover,  there  is  reason 
to  believe  that  there  were  other  ladies  of  wealth  and  position  who  gave 
Disraeli  to  understand,  at  this  period,  that  they  were  ready  to  unite 
their  lot  with  his. 

1873]  POLITICS  IN  THE  RECESS  259 

prisoners  to  rescue.  If  we  get  there,  what  is  the  gain?  If 
we  are  beaten  by  the  climate,  wh.  is  on  the  cards,  are  we  to  sit 
down  with  a  defeat,  or  is  there  to  be  another  expedition;  more 
lives  thrown  away  and  more  money? 

There  cannot  be  a  more  unprofitable,  and  more  inglorious 
quarrel.  All  the  motives  of  the  Abyssinian  expedition  are  want- 
ing, and  all  the  circumstances  are  different.  Lord  Derby  writes 
me  that  he  met  Lowe,  who  made  no  scruple  of  saying  that  he 
had  not  been  consulted,  and  did  not  know  what  his  colleagues 
were  about!  So  much  for  Ash.! 

As  to  the  general  politics,  I  think  it  highly  desirable  that  you 
should  notice  the  misconception  of  my  expression  of  the  necessity 
of  our  knowing  the  situation  and  engagements  of  the  Govt. 
before  we  could  decide  on  our  policy  on  several  foreign  subjects 
of  pressing  importance.  Nothing  can  be  better  than  what  you 
propose  to  say  on  this  head.  As  to  our  general  policy,  it  is  to 
uphold  the  institutions  of  the  country,  and  to  arrest  that  course 
of  feverish  criticism  and  unnecessary  change,  too  long  in  vogue. 
I  would  not  too  much  insist  on  our  policy  being  essentially  de- 
fensive, because  they  always  make  out  that  means  being  station- 
ary. If  pressed  about  reduction  of  county  suffrage,  or  unable 
to  avoid  it,  take  the  ground  that  constant  change  in  the  distribu- 
tion of  power  is  in  itself  an  evil;  that  the  measure  of  1868  is 
only  just  digested;  that  it  has  been  followed  by  the  ballot,  hardly 
yet  tried;  that  we  have  no  reason  to  fear  extension  of  the  fran- 
chise to  properly  qualified  classes,  but  that  any  large  increase 
of  either  the  boro'  or  the  county  constituency  cannot  be  con- 
sidered alone;  that  the  latter  must  lead  to  a  considerable  dis- 
f ranchisement  of  the  towns  from  30,  [000]  to  10,000  inhab. ;  that, 
tho'  this  may  not  be  immediately  unfavorable  to  the  Cons,  cause, 
you  are  not  prepared,  without  deep  consideration  and  clear 
necessity,  to  diminish,  to  a  great  extent,  the  influence  of  urban 
populations  in  our  system  of  Govt.,  being  one  favorable  to  public 
liberty  and  enlightenment.  .  .  . 

For  the  last  month,  I  have  not  interchanged  a  word  with  a 
human  being.  It  is  a  dreary  life,  but  I  find  society  drearier. 
I  have  realised  what  are  the  feelings  of  a  prisoner  of  State  of 
a  high  class:  the  fellow  in  the  Iron  Masque,  and  so  on.  I  have 
parks  and  gardens,  and  pictures  and  books,  and  everything  to 
charm  and  amuse,  except  the  human  face  and  voice  divine.  I 
really  have  never  been  out  of  my  own  grounds.  However,  my 
imprisonment  is  nearly  at  an  end,  for  towards  the  close  of  this 
month  I  am  going  to  the  Bradfords  in  Shropshire.  I  hope  I 
shall  be  able  to  behave  myself  in  civilised  society  .  .  . 

260  LADY  BRADFORD  [CHAP,  vn 

To  Montagu  Carry. 

HUGHENDEN,  Sept.  14,  1873. — .  .  .  All  that  we  have  seen,  or 
I  have  told  you,  of  the  correspondence,  is  nothing  to  what  has 
since  transpired.  I  am  amazed!  I  should  think  at  least  5,000 
letters  in  addition  to  all  I  had  examined:  and  apparently,  more 
important  and  interesting  than  any.  Nothing  seems  to  have 
escaped  her.  Many  letters  of  Metternich,  Thiers,  Brougham. 
I  should  say  100  of  Bulwer :  as  many  of  Stanley,  beginning  with 
Trinity  College,  Cambridge;  enough  of  George  Smythe  for  three 
volumes,  and  I  dare  say  not  a  line  in  them  not  as  good  as 
Horace  Walpole.  The  whole  of  Lady  Londonderry's  correspon- 
dence —  I  dare  say  100  letters !  Among  them,  I  saw  a  packet  — 
more  than  a  doz. —  from  Butt.  Many  of  D'Orsay :  his  last  letter 
written  in  pencil,  just  before  his  death,  on  hearing  that  I  was 
C.  of  E[xcheque]r  and  leader  of  the  H.  of  C.  The  last  letter 
received  from  Lady  Blessington  —  a  most  interesting  one.  It 
is  the  only  one  I  have  read:  if  I  had  once  indulged  in  reading 
them,  I  never  should  have  licked  them  into  any  form. 

To  Lady  Bradford. 

BEDFORD,  BRIGHTON,  Sept.  24,  1873. — .  .  .  You  will  be  a  little 
surprised  at  my  date;  but  after  two  months  of  solitude,  with 
everything  to  charm  except  the  greatest  of  charms,  the  human 
face  and  voice  divine,  I  thought  London  might  be  a  relief.  It 
was  intolerable,  so  I  came  down  here.  It  might  have  succeeded, 
for  I  found  our  friends,  the  Sturts,1  here,  and  in  the  same  hotel. 
She  is  ever  pleasing,  and  his  wondrous  rattle  is  as  good  as 
champaign  [stc]  ;  but  alas !  she  fell  ill,  and  fancied  it  was  the 
fault  of  Brighton,  and  they  went  off  at  a  moment's  notice. 

Yesterday  the  Brunnows  found  me  out,  and  took  me  home  to 
dine  with  them,  quite  alone.  I  sate  between  the  Ambassador 
and  Madame.  No  other  guest,  not  even  a  soils-secretaire  of 
embassy.  We  had  six  servants  in  the  room,  and  a  wondrous 
repast,  which,  as  I  live  on  a  '  spare  radish,'  was  rather  embarrass- 
ing. They  were  kind  but  it  was  not  lively,  tho'  I  was  amused 
by  the  great  excitement  of  Brunnow  as  to  English  politics, 
which  he  flattered  himself  he  concealed.  He  was  always  re- 
curring to  the  Dover  election  which  made  a  great  sensation 
here.  We  had  telegraphs  of  the  poll  every  hour,  and  at  ten 
o'ck.  they  gave  me  a  serenade,  or  a  chorale,  the  most  beautiful 
thing  I  ever  heard.  No  one  knows  who  were  the  serenaders; 
they  say  a  private  musical  society.  Not,  certainly,  the  Christie 

i  Afterwards  Lord  and  Lady  Alington. 

1873]  FIRST  VISIT  TO  WESTON  261 

[sic']  minstrels,  who  all  take  off  their  hats  to  me  when  I  pass: 
which  is  awkward,  as  I  was  told  I  should  be  as  unnoticed  here 
in  September,  as  in  the  woods  of  Hughenden. 

My  kind  remembrances  to  Lord  Bradford. 

I  cannot  express  to  you  the  delight  I  anticipate  from  seeing 
you  again.  It  seems  to  me  that  the  only  happy  hours  I  have 
had  in  this  melancholy  year  are  due  to  your  charming  society. 

The  visits  to  Lord  and  Lady  Bradford  at  Weston  and 
to  Lady  Chesterfield  at  Bretby  followed,  and  confirmed 
him  in  his  devotion  to  both  ladies,  though  he  protested  to 
a  friend  that  he  did  not  really  enjoy  this  country-house  visit- 

To  Lord  Henry  Lennox. 

WESTON,  SHIFNAL,  Oct.  2,  '73. — .  .  .  I  hope  you  have  not  given 
up  your  Bretby  visit,  and  that  we  shall  meet  on  Monday.  I  am 
not  very  much  inclined  to  it,  and  rather  count  on  your  help. 
The  fact  is,  visiting  does  not  suit  me,  and  I  have  pretty  well 
made  up  my  mind,  after  this  year,  to  give  up  what  is  called 
society,  and  confine  myself  solely  to  public  life.  The  only  con- 
solation I  have  is,  that  my  health  is  good;  as,  doubtless,  we 
have  some  coming  scenes,  that  will  try  both  our  nerves  and 

I  linger  on  here,  boring  and  bored,  notwithstanding  a  charm- 
ing hostess,  on  whom  I  feel  myself  a  tax.  I  could  not  make 
my  other  visits  *  fit  in  without  postponing  my  arrival  at  Bretby 
for  a  couple  of  days.  And  this,  I  thought,  under  all  circum- 
stances, would  be  too  great  a  liberty. 

The  Weston  visit  was  notable  for  Disraeli's  last  experi- 
ment in  riding  to  hounds.  He  never  rode  at  all  at  Hugh- 
enden, and,  indeed,  is  only  recorded  to  have  crossed  a  horse 
twice  in  the  past  quarter  of  a  century:  once  when  Lord 
Galway's  guest  at  Serlby  in  1853,  and  again  when  Lord  Wil- 
ton showed  him  the  Belvoir  hounds  in  1869.2  In  these  cir- 
cumstances it  argued  great  pluck  in  a  man  nearly  sixty- 
nine  to  accept  an  invitation  to  go  cub-hunting  at  Chilling- 
ton,  five  miles  from  Weston.  He  rode  a  little  chestnut 
hack,  remained  in  the  saddle  three  or  four  hours,  and  was 

i  One  of  these  was  to  Knowaley. 

*  See  Meynell's  Disraeli,  Vol  L,  p.  177. 

262  LADY  BRADFORD  [CHAP,  vn 

so  exhausted  that  he  actually  reeled  against  the  stable  wall 
when  he  dismounted. 

While  Disraeli  was  at  Weston,  there  was  an  election  con- 
test proceeding  at  Bath,  the  third  in  the  course  of  the  year. 
At  the  beginning  of  the  Parliament  Bath  had  been  rep- 
resented by  two  Liberals.  Both  had  died,  one  after  the 
other,  this  spring,  and  each  seat  in  turn  had  been  won  for 
the  Conservatives.  Now  one  of  the  new  members,  Lord 
Chelsea,  had  succeeded  to  the  peerage;  and  to  Lord  Grey 
de  Wilton,  the  Conservative  candidate  for  the  vacancy,  a 
personal  friend  of  his  own,  Disraeli  wrote  for  publication 
from  Weston  on  October  3 : 

For  nearly  five  years  the  present  Ministers  have  harassed  every 
trade,  worried  every  profession,  and  assailed  or  menaced  every 
class,  institution,  and  species  of  property  in  the  country.  Oc- 
casionally they  have  varied  this  state  of  civil  warfare  by  per- 
petrating some  job  which  outraged  public  opinion,  or  by  stum- 
bling into  mistakes  which  have  been  always  discreditable,  and 
sometimes  ruinous.  All  tbis  they  call  a  policy,  and  seem  quite 
proud  of  it;  but  the  country  has,  I  think,  made  up  its  mind  to 
close  this  career  of  plundering  and  blundering.1 

It  was  a  full-blooded  letter,  conceived  in  the  hustings 
spirit,  but  it  only  restated,  in  pointed  fashion,  charges  which 
Disraeli  had  often  brought  against  Ministers  in  public 
speeches  and  across  the  table  of  the  House  of  Commons. 
A  vehement  outcry  was,  however,  raised  against  its  tone  and 
language ;  and  even  many  of  his  own  party  attributed  to  this 
indiscretion  Grey  de  Wilton's  failure  by  a  small  majority 
to  retain  the  seat  which  Chelsea  had  won  by  a  majority 
somewhat  similar.  Disraeli,  at  any  rate,  was  quite  im- 

To  Anne  Lady  Chesterfield. 

HUGHENDEN  MANOR,  Oct.  24,  1873. — .  .  .  The  storm  against 
my  letter  to  Grey  was  quite  factitious;  got  up  by  a  knot  of 
clever  Liberal  journalists,  who  bad,  they  thought,  an  opportunity. 
It  has  quite  evaporated,  and  from  the  number  of  letters  I  daily 
receive  about  it,  from  all  parts  of  the  country,  and  from  the 

i  Disraeli  had  used  the  phrase  before,  in  Coningsby,  Bk.  II.,  ch.  4. 

1873]  THE  BATH  LETTER  263 

quotations  from  it  daily  cropping  up  in  the  press,  I  have  no 
doubt  it  will  effect  the  purpose  for  which  it  was  written. 

I  wished  to  give  a  condensed,  but  strictly  accurate,  summary 
of  the  career  of  the  Gladstone  Ministry.  There  is  not  an  ex- 
pression which  was  not  well  weighed,  and  which  I  could  not 
justify  by  ample,  and  even  abounding,  evidence.  Lord  Salis- 
bury,1 and  the  Hull  election,  together,  will  effectively  silence 
my  critics.  .  .  . 

Disraeli  went  in  the  following  month  to  Glasgow,  and 
there  defended  himself  in  detail.  Ministers  might  sigh, 
he  said,  and  newspapers  might  scream,  but  the  question 
was,  Was  the  statement  a  true  one?  It  was  no  answer  to 
say  *  Oh,  fie !  how  very  rude !  '  He  maintained  that  he 
had  written  the  history  of  a  Ministry  that  had  lasted  five 
years  and  had  immortalised  the  spirit  of  their  policy  in  five 

The  occasion  of  Disraeli's  visit  to  Glasgow  was  that  he 
might  be  installed  Lord  Rector  of  the  University,  and  might 
thereupon  deliver  his  address  to  the  students  who  had 
elected  him  two  years  before,  but  who  had  been  deprived  of 
the  treat  of  seeing  and  hearing  him  in  the  previous  autumn 
by  Lady  Beaconsfield's  last  illness.  Many  other  functions, 
however,  were  planned  to  welcome  the  man  of  the  hour  to 
the  Clyde.  Writing  to  Lord  Barrington  a  few  days  before- 
hand he  said  the  expedition  was  '  assuming  colossal  propor- 
tions. .  .  .  My  plans  assume  that  I  shall  return  to  England 
alive;  when  I  see  the  programme  of  the  Glasgow  week,  it 
seems  doubtful.  Nothing  can  be  more  inhuman ;  and  if  there 
were  a  society  to  protect  public  men,  as  there  is  to  protect 
donkeys,  some  interference  would  undoubtedly  take  place.' 

Few  statesmen  were  more  qualified  by  sympathy  and  ex- 
perience to  give  advice  to  youth.  He  had  never  ceased 
to  be  young  in  feeling,  and  to  feel  for  the  young;  and  he 
himself  was  a  dazzling  example  of  what  resolute  and  as- 
piring youth  could  achieve.  He  impressed  upon  his  hear- 
ers at  Glasgow  the  necessity,  in  order  to  succeed  in  life,  for 

1  Who  had  written  an  article  in  the  current  number  of  the  Quarterly 
Review,  strongly  criticising  '  The  programme  of  the  Radicals.' 

264  LADY  BRADFORD  [CHAP,  vn 

two  kinds  of  knowledge  — -  first  self-knowledge,  and  then 
knowledge  of  the  spirit  of  the  age.  Self-knowledge,  he 
told  them,  could  not  be  obtained  with  certainty  either  in 
the  family  circle,  or  from  the  judgment  of  one's  fellows, 
or  from  that  of  one's  tutors;  but  from  self-communion. 
The  young  would  make  many  errors  and  experience  much 
self-deception;  it  was  their  business  to  learn  the  lesson  of 
their  mistakes,  and  to  accept  the  consequences  with  cour- 
age and  candour.  Only  by  severe  introspection  could  they 
obtain  the  self-knowledge  they  required  and  make  their 
failures  the  foundation  of  their  ultimate  success. 

But  self-knowledge  was  not  enough.  Without  a  know- 
ledge of  the  spirit  of  the  age  life  might  prove  a  blunder ;  a 
man  might  embrace  a  profession  doomed  to  grow  obsolete, 
or  embark  his  capital  in  a  decaying  trade.  It  did  not 
follow  that  the  spirit  of  the  age  should  be  adopted ;  it  might 
be  necessary  to  resist  it ;  but  it  was  essential  to  understand 
it.  He  considered  the  spirit  of  the  mid-Victorian  age  in 
which  he  spoke  to  be  one  of  equality.  So  far  as  the  word 
stood  for  civil  equality  —  equality  of  all  subjects  before 
the  law  —  it  was  the  only  foundation  of  a  perfect  common- 
wealth, and  had  been  largely  responsible  for  British  patriot- 
ism and  security.  But  there  was  also  social  equality,  which 
had  been  established  by  the  Revolution  in  France,  but  which 
recent  events,  in  1870  and  1871,  showed  not  to  be  a  prin- 
ciple on  which  a  nation  could  safely  rely  in  the  hour  of 
trial.  And,  further,  there  was  the  demand  of  a  new  school 
for  physical  and  material  equality.  t  The  leading  principle 
of  this  new  school  is  that  there  is  no  happiness  which  is 
not  material,  and  that  every  living  being  has  a  right  to 
share  in  that  physical  welfare.'  The  school  substituted  the 
rights  of  labour  for  the  rights  of  property,  and  recognised 
no  such  limitation  of  employment  as  resulted  from  the 
division  of  the  world  into  states  or  nations.  (  As  civil  equal- 
ity would  abolish  privilege  and  social  equality  would  destroy 
classes;  so  material  and  physical  equality  strikes  at  the 
principle  of  patriotism,  and  is  prepared  to  abrogate  coun- 

-  'T- 

From  a  drawing  by  Mrs.  Blackburn  at  Hughenden. 

18Y3]         ADDRESS  TO  GLASGOW  STUDENTS  265 

tries.'  Against  this  theory  he  appealed  to  the  traditional 
patriotism  of  his  Scottish  audience,  and  proceeded,  in  a 
peroration  which  sums  up  his  teaching  on  spiritual  matters 
in  Tancred,  Lord  George  Bentinck,  the  Sheldonian  speech, 
and  Lothair: 

It  is  not  true  that  the  only  real  happiness  is  physical  happi- 
ness ;  it  is  not  true  that  physical  happiness  is  the  highest  happi- 
ness; it  is  not  true  that  physical  happiness  is  a  principle  on 
which  you  can  build  up  a  flourishing  and  enduring  common- 
wealth. A  civilised  community  must  rest  on  a  large  realised 
capital  of  thought  and  sentiment;  there  must  be  a  reserved  fund 
of  public  morality  to  draw  upon  in  the  exigencies  of  national 
life.  Society  has  a  soul  as  well  as  a  body.  The  traditions  of 
a  nation  are  part  of  its  existence.  Its  valour  and  its  discipline, 
its  venerable  laws,  its  science  and  erudition,  its  poetry,  its  art, 
its  eloquence  and  its  scholarship  are  as  much  portions  of  its  life 
as  its  agriculture,  its  commerce,  and  its  engineering  skill.  .  .  . 

If  it  be  true,  as  I  believe,  that  an  aristocracy  distinguished 
merely  by  wealth  must  perish  from  satiety,  so  I  hold  it  equally 
true  that  a  people  who  recognise  no  higher  aim  than  physical 
enjoyment  must  become  selfish  and  enervated.  Under  such 
circumstances,  the  supremacy  of  race,  which  is  the  key  of  his- 
tory, will  assert  itself.  Some  human  progeny,  distinguished 
by  their  bodily  vigour  or  their  masculine  intelligence,  or  by 
both  qualities,  will  assert  their  superiority,  and  conquer  a  world 
which  deserves  to  be  enslaved.  It  will  then  be  found  that  our 
boasted  progress  has  only  been  an  advancement  in  a  circle,  and 
that  our  new  philosophy  has  brought  us  back  to  that  old  serfdom 
which  it  has  taken  ages  to  extirpate.1 

But  the  still  more  powerful,  indeed  the  insurmountable, 
obstacle  to  the  establishment  of  the  new  opinions  will  be  fur- 
nished by  the  essential  elements  of  the  human  mind.  Our 
idiosyncrasy  is  not  bounded  by  the  planet  which  we  inhabit.  We 
can  investigate  space,  and  we  can  comprehend  eternity.  No 
considerations  limited  to  this  sphere  have  hitherto  furnished  the 
excitement  which  man  requires,  or  the  sanctions  for  his  conduct 
which  his  nature  imperatively  demands.  The  spiritual  nature 
of  man  is  stronger  than  codes  or  constitutions.  No  Govern- 
ment can  endure  which  does  not  recognise  that  for  its  founda- 
tion, and  no  legislation  last  which  does  not  flow  from  that 
fountain.  The  principle  may  develop  itself  in  manifold  forms, 

i  A  profound  passage,  which  the  history  of  the  world  since  1914 
enables  the  men  of  to-day  to  appreciate. 

266  LADY  BKADFOED  [CHAP,  vn 

in  the  shape  of  many  creeds  and  many  churches ;  but  the  principle 
is  divine.  As  time  is  divided  into  day  and  night,  so  religion 
rests  upon  the  Providence  of  God  and  the  responsibility  of  man. 
One  is  manifest,  the  other  mysterious;  but  both  are  facts.  Nor 
is  there,  as  some  would  teach  you,  anything  in  these  convictions 
which  tends  to  contract  our  intelligence  or  our  sympathies.  On 
the  contrary,  religion  invigorates  the  intellect  and  expands  the 
heart.  He  who  has  a  due  sense  of  his  relations  to  God  is  best 
qualified  to  fulfil  his  duties  to  man. 

Disraeli  brought  to  a  close  an  address  which  had  con- 
tained many  references  to  Greek  and  Latin  authors  by  a 
quotation,  in  the  original  Greek,  of  four  lines  from  the  Ajax 
of  Sophocles,  containing  the  poet's  acknowledgment  of 
Divine  Providence.  Other  quotations  from  Greek  plays 
are  found  in  Lord  George  Bentinck.  Disraeli  has  been 
accused  of  pretending,  in  these  and  other  passages,  to  a 
classical  erudition  which,  he  did  not  possess.  But,  as  was 
shown  in  Vol.  L,  ch.  3,  he  had  attained  while  at  school,  and 
in  the  year  or  more  of  private  study  which  followed,  to  a 
wide  knowledge  of  Latin  and  a  moderate  acquaintance  with 
Greek ;  and  it  is  reasonable  to  assume  that  a  man  of  letters 
who,  like  Disraeli,  rather  ignored  contemporary  literature, 
would  refresh  his  mind  throughout  life  by  recurring  to  his 
favourite  authors  of  antiquity.  He  was  at  any  rate  suffi- 
ciently familiar  with  classical  literature,  Greek  as  well  as 
Latin,  to  sustain  a  whole  evening's  conversation  on  the  sub- 
ject in  the  summer  of  1880  with  Northcote,  a  lifelong 
scholar,  upon  whom  he  could  not  hope  to  impose  with  sham 
knowledge,  and  who  records  the  talk  in  his  diary  without  a 
suggestion  that  his  chief  was  discussing  matters  which  he 
did  not  understand.  Sophocles,  in  particular,  he  told  North- 
cote,  he  used  at  one  time  to  carry  about  in  his  pocket. 

So  satisfied  were  the  Glasgow  students  with  the  brilliancy 
of  their  Rector's  address  and  the  lustre  of  his  career  that, 
having  originally  elected  him  in  1871  by  a  large  majority  in 
each  of  the  four  '  nations '  into  which  they  were  divided, 
they  paid  him  the  unusual  compliment  of  re-electing  him 
in  1874,  in  the  same  handsome  fashion,  for  a  second  term. 


The  Glasgow  festivities  included,  besides  the  University 
function,  a  municipal  banquet  with  the  Lord  Provost  in  the 
chair,  the  conferment  of  the  freedom  of  the  city,  and  the 
presentation  of  an  address  by  the  local  Conservative  asso- 
ciation. Every  mark  of  respect  and  consideration  was 
shown  Disraeli ;  and  the  warmth  of  the  popular  reception 
was  unmistakable.  He  told  Rose  that  '  Glasgow,  without 
exaggeration,  was  the  greatest  reception  ever  offered  to  a 
public  man :  far  beyond  Lancashire  even ! '  At  the  banquet 
he  touched  with  some  grace  on  the  question  of  the  leader- 
ship, now  a  purely  academic  one.  He  had  led  his  party 
in  the  Commons,  he  said,  for  twenty-five  years,  the  longest 
period  of  leadership  on  record.  Peel  had  led  the  Con- 
servative party  there  for  eighteen  years,  though  unfortu- 
nately it  twice  broke  asunder;  and  Russell's  leadership  of 
the  Liberals  had  lasted  seventeen  years,  till  at  last  it  slipped 
out  of  his  hands. 

Do  not  suppose  for  a  moment  that  I  am  making  these  obser- 
vations in  a  vain  spirit  of  boasting.  The  reason  that  I  have 
been  able  to  lead  a  party  for  so  long  a  period,  and  under  some 
circumstances  of  difficulty  and  discouragement,  is  that  the  party 
that  I  lead  is  really  the  most  generous  and  most  indulgent  party 
that  ever  existed.  I  cannot  help  smiling  sometimes  when  I  hear 
the  constant  intimations  that  are  given,  by  those  who  know 
all  the  secrets  of  the  political  world,  of  the  extreme  anxiety  of 
the  Conservative  party  to  get  rid  of  my  services.  The  fact  is, 
the  Conservative  party  can  get  rid  of  my  services  whenever  they 
give  me  an  intimation  that  they  wish  it.  Whenever  I  have 
desired  to  leave  the  leadership  of  the  party  they  have  too  kindly 
requested  me  to  remain  where  I  was;  and  if  I  make  a  mistake 
the  only  difference  in  their  conduct  to  me  is  that  they  are  more 
indulgent  and  more  kind. 

A  declaration  at  once  modest,  generous,  and  politic,  but 
giving  perhaps  a  somewhat  idealised  version  of  the  rela- 
tionship between  leader  and  party.  His  political  address 
to  the  local  Conservatives  was  largely  occupied  with  the 
defence  of  the  Bath  letter ;  but  in  his  peroration  he  sounded 
a  warning  note  as  to  the  contest  that  was  proceeding  in 

268  LADY  BRADFORD  [CHAP,  vn 

Europe  between  the  spiritual  and  the  temporal  power.  It 
would  be  the  greatest  danger  to  civilisation  if  in  this  strug- 
gle the  only  representatives  of  the  two  sides  should  be  the 
Papacy  and  the  Red  Republic.  England  could  hardly 
stand  apart.  '  Our  connection  with  Ireland  will  be  brought 
painfully  to  our  consciousness;  and  I  should  not  be  at  all 
surprised  if  the  visor  of  Home  Rule  should  fall  off  some 
day,  and  you  beheld  a  very  different  countenance.'  It 
might  be  the  proud  destiny  of  England  to  guard  civilisation 
'  alike  from  the  withering  blast  of  atheism  and  from  the 
simoom  of  sacerdotal  usurpation.'  Einally  he  adjured 
Scotsmen  to  '  leave  off  mumbling  the  dry  bones  of  political 
economy,  and  munching  the  remainder  biscuit  of  an  effete 

From  Montagu  Corry. 

WESTON,  SHIFNAL,  Nov.  28,  '73. —  The  Duke  of  Richmond 
tells  me  that  nothing  but  regard  for  your  time  has  prevented 
!his  obeying  his  impulse  to  write  to  you  his  warm  appreciation 
of  the  great  speech  of  Saturday.  He  asked  me  to  tell  you  this 
at  our  next  meeting,  and  also  that  all  his  correspondents  agree 
in  declaring  the  satisfaction  which  it  has  given  the  party. 

He  further  told  me  that  none  of  your  words  at  Glasgow  had 
afforded  him  so  much  pleasure  as  your  remarks  on  your  leader- 
ship, which  he  thought  well  timed  and  in  excellent  taste.  He 
hopes  the  mouths  may  now  be  shut  of  those  who,  '  whenever 
Lord  Derby  goes  about  starring  at  Mechanics'  Institutes,  etc.,' 
.  .  .  cry  out  '  Here  is  the  man ! '  With  such  the  Duke  does 
not  agree,  nor  seems  to  deem  the  Earl  better  qualified  to  lead  in 
his  own  Chamber!  .  .  . 

To  Lady  Bradford. 

KEIR,  DUNBLANE,  N.B.,  Nov.  26,  1873. —  You  were  right  in  sup- 
posing that  your  letter  was  more  precious  to  me  than  '  loud 

It  has  been  a  great  week  —  without  exaggeration. 

What  pleased  me,  personally,  most  was  the  opportunity,  forced 
on  me,  of  shattering  all  the  hypocritical  trash  about  my  letter 
to  Grey.  I  call  it  the  Weston  manifesto,  for  it  was  written 
under  the  roof  that  you  inspire  and  adorn. 

I  rather  long  for  rest,  but  have  no  prospect  of  it.  I  live  on 
the  railroad  and  am  now  going  to  Cochrane's  for  a  day,  for  I 
could  not  resist  his  reproachful  countenance  any  more.  ,  ,  , 


To  Gathorne  Hardy. 

BLENHEIM  PALACE,  WOODSTOCK,  Dec.  12,  1873. — .  .  .  We  have 
a  very  gay  and  gorgeous  party  here,  but  the  frost  has  stopped 
all  the  hunting,  and  the  fog  has  marred  the  shooting. 

I  attended  the  Princess  yesterday  on  a  visit  to  yr.  constituents, 
but  the  fog  was  so  great,  that  we  could  neither  see,  nor  be  seen. 

We  lunched  at  the  Dean  of  Xchurch,  and  I  saw  in  the  flesh 
Jowett,  M.  Miiller,  and  Ruskin ! x  That  was  something.  M. 
Bernard  was  also  there,  tho'  I  wonder  he  had  an  appetite  for 
any  meal,  even  luncheon,  after  the  quantity  of  dirt  he  has 

The  Whigs  here  did  not  like  Exeter.  .  .  . 

To  Anne  Lady  Chesterfield. 

HUGHENDEN  MANOR,  Dec.  15,  1873. — .  .  .  What  with  Glasgow. 
iKeir,  Lamington,  Gunnersbury,  lAshridge;  Sandringham  and 
Blenheim,  I  have  lived  in  such  a  whirl  during  the  last  month, 
that  I  can  hardly  distinguish  the  places  where  I  met  persons, 
and  attribute  the  wrong  sayings  to  the  wrong  folk. 

I  think  the  Government  has  quite  relapsed  into  the  miserable 
condition  they  were  in  at  the  end  of  the  session,  and  from  which 
the  accession  of  Mr.  Bright,  and  his  sham  programme,  had, 
for  a  moment,  a  little  lifted  them  out.  There  will  be  no  meas- 
ures about  reform,  or  land,  or  education,  and  I  continue  of  the 
opinion  I  expressed  when  I  was  at  Bretby,  that  they  will  have  to 
dissolve  in  March.  .  .  . 

I  was  agreeably  disappointed  with  Sandringham.  It  is  not 
commonplace;  both  wild  and  stately.  I  fancied  I  was  paying  a 
visit  to  some  of  the  Dukes  and  Princes  of  the  Baltic ;  a  vigorous 
marine  air,  stunted  fir  forests,  but  sufficiently  extensive;  the 
roads  and  all  the  appurtenances  on  a  great  scale,  and  the  splen- 
dor of  Scandinavian  sunsets. 

Disraeli  interrupted  his  merely  social  visits  to  attend 
a  gathering  of  the  party  chiefs  just  before  Christmas,  at 
Hardy's  house  in  Kent.  '  It  is  a  meeting,'  he  told  Lady 
Chesterfield,  l  that  usually  takes  place  at  Hughenden,  but  I 
am  not  equal  to  the  affair  this  year,  with  a  broken  household, 

1  In  a  letter  of  the  same  date  to  Sir  Arthur  Helps,  Disraeli  wrote 
of  these  three  eminent  men :     '  The  first  does  not  look  like  a  man  who 
could  devise  or  destroy  a  creed,  but  benignant;  the  second  all  fire  and 
the  third  all  fantasy'    (Correspondence  of  Sir  Arthur  Helps,  p.  360). 

2  Professor  Mountague  Bernard  had  been  one  of  the  British  Com- 
missioners at  Washington, 

270  LADY  BRADFORD  [CHAP,  vn 

and  with  no  organising  spirit ;  '  to  Lady  Bradford  he  pro- 
tested, '  It  is  the  sort  of  thing  I  abhor.'  The  date  originally 
suggested  was  December  15,  but  Disraeli  wrote  to  his  '  dear- 
est Hardy  ' :  (  Pardon  me  all  the  trouble  I  am  giving  you, 
but,  as  far  as  I  am  concerned,  it  must  be  the  16th.  The  pre- 
ceding day  is  the  anniversary  of  my  great  sorrow.'  Besides 
Disraeli  and  Hardy,  Cairns,  Northcote,  Manners,  Ward 
Hunt,  Taylor  (the  Whip),  and  Montagu  Corry  were  pres- 
ent. No  definite  conclusions  were  come  to,  Hardy  tells  us ; 
and  indeed  the  next  move  must  necessarily  be  with  the  Gov- 
ernment. But  there  was,  no  doubt,  much  interchange  of 
opinion  on  a  subject  which  had  for  months  formed  the  topic 
of  Conservative  correspondence;  namely,  how  to  deal,  when 
the  session  opened,  with  the  question  whether  the  Prime 
Minister,  since  his  acceptance  of  the  additional  office  of 
Chancellor  of  the  Exchequer,  was  any  longer  a  Member 
of  Parliament,  seeing  that  he  had  not,  in  compliance  with 
the  statute  of  Anne,  submitted  himself  to  his  constituents 
for  re-election.  It  is  a  question  on  which  much  can  be,  and 
has  been,  said  on  both  sides ;  but  which  was  deprived  of  all 
actuality  by  the  unexpected  course  which  Gladstone  took 
before  Parliament  could  meet. 

To  Lady  Bradford. 

HEMSTED  PARK,  STAPLEHURST,  Dec.  19,  1873. — .  .  .  [Corry] 
leaves  me,  I  am  sorry  to  say,  on  Monday  for  Savernake,  so  I 
shall  pass  my  Xmas  alone.  That  is,  however,  not  a  great  grief 
to  me  beyond  losing  his  society,  as  I  never  was  a  great  admirer 
of  a  merrie  Xmas,  even  when  a  boy.  I  always  hated  factitious 
merriment,  in  the  form  of  unnecessary  guzzlement,  and  those 
awful  inventions,  round  games,  worse  even  than  forfeits,  if 
that  be  possible!  .  .  . 

HUGHENDEN  MANOR,  Dec.  28,  1873. — .  .  .  I  passed  my  Xmas 
at  Trentham  in  the  enemy's  camp,  where  I  was  taken  captive; 
but  they  treated  me  with  great  humanity,  and  spared  my  life, 
which  was  valuable  to  me,  as  I  had  a  prospect  of  seeing  you. 
They  wished  me  to  remain  a  week,  but  I  gave  them  only  two 
days.  I  do  not  stay  a  week,  except  with  those  I  love.  The 
page  of  human  life  is  quickly  read,  and  one  does  not  care  to 
dwell  upon  it,  unless  it  touches  the  heart, 




The  opening  of  the  New  Year  found  Disraeli  still  pursu- 
ing a  round  of  visits  in  country-houses,  Crichel,  Heron 
Court,  and  Bretby ;  strengthening  the  ties  which  bound  him 
to  Lady  Chesterfield  and  Lady  Bradford;  and  busying 
himself  apparently  almost  as  much  about  securing  a  perma- 
nent residence  in  London  as  over  the  favourable  political 
outlook.  By-elections  continued  to  herald  the  doom  of  the 
Government.  Stroud  and  Newcastle-on-Tyne,  both  with  a 
long  record  of  Liberal  representation,  polled  in  the  early 
days  of  the  year,  with  the  result  that  a  Conservative  took 
the  place  of  a  Liberal  at  Stroud  by  a  substantial  margin 
while  the  Liberal  majority  at  Newcastle  sank  from  4,000 
to  1,000. 

To  Anne  Lady  Chesterfield. 

CRICHEL,  WIMBORNE,  Jan.  10,  1874. —  Lady  Bradford  gave  me 
your  congratulatory  message  on  the  Stroud  election ;  much  the 
most  important  event  of  the  kind  that  has  yet  occurred.  I 
observe  even  the  Spectator  acknowledges  that  to  deny  the 
'  reaction  '  now  is  impossible  and  absurd. 

I  enclose  you  a  letter  on  the  subject  from  Sir  Michael  Beach, 
a  very  able  and  rising  man,  and  who  threw  himself  into  the 
Stroud  contest  as  Sir  Stafford  Northcote  did  into  that  of  Exeter. 
I  agree  with  Sir  Michael  that,  after  Stroud,  nothing  ought  to 
astonish  us.  ... 

To  Lady  Bradford. 

BRETBY  PARK,  BURTON-ON-TRENT,  Jan.  20,  1874. — .  .  .  I  arrived 
here  yesterday  at  tea  twilight,  and  the  first  words  I  heard  were 
'  Selina  is  ill,  and  they  are  going  to  Bournemouth.'  This  so 
knocked  me  up  that  I  could  scarcely  perform  the  offices  of 
civility  to  my  delightful  hostess,  and  her  guests  who  loomed  in 


272  POWER  [CHAP,  vm 

the  chamber,  of  ambiguous  light,  in  the  shapes  of  Wilton,  the 
Dick  Curzons,  and  your  friend  the  great  General.1  I  ought 
not  to  forget  Carnarvon,  whom  I  absolutely  did  not  recog- 
nise. .  .  . 

I  have  not  yet  received  an  answer  about  Duchess  2  Eleanor's 
house.  What  do  you  think  of  your  sister's  house  in  Hill  St.? 
She  wants  to  let  it.  Would  that  do  for  me?  They  seem  to  think 
that  Whitehall  Gardens  has  such  a  strong  recommendation  in 
being  near  the  Ho.  of  Commons.  I  doubt  that.  Hill  St.  would 
secure  a  walk,  which  is  something.  Certainly  I  might  find  a 
substitute,  if  in  .Whitehall,  by  walking  to  the  House  of  C.  via 
Belgrave  Square,3  which  would  not  only  secure  health,  but  also 
happiness,  which  is  something  also. 

To-day's  post  informs  me  that  I  have  succeeded  in  getting 
rooms  at  Edwards's  Hotel  from  Friday  next,  and  I  shall  keep 
them  on  till  my  plans  for  the  season  are  matured.  They  are 
miserable;  merely  a  couple  of  rooms  on  the  ground  floor,  but 
they  are  a  sort  of  headquarters,  until  I  get  a  house,  or  commit 
some  other  folly.  .  .  . 

Accordingly  on  Friday,  January  23,  Disraeli  came  up 
from  Bretby  to  his  London  hotel  with  the  view  of  attending 
on  the  Saturday  a  meeting  of  the  trustees  of  the  British 
Museum,  and  also  of  deciding  finally  on  his  future  house. 
It  still  wanted  nearly  a  fortnight  to  the  date  fixed  for  the 
opening  of  the  session ;  and  his  intention  was  to  return  after 
a  week-end  in  town  to  his  home  at  Hughenden.  When, 
however,  he  woke  on  the  Saturday  morning,  he  was  greeted 
by  the  momentous  news  that  the  Queen  had  been  advised  to 
dissolve  Parliament  immediately,  and  that  Gladstone,  in  ap- 
pealing to  the  electors  to  give  him  a  new  lease  of  power,  had 
dangled  before  their  eyes  a  surplus  of  several  millions,  and 
promised  therewith  to  abolish  the  income  tax.  '  I  saw  the 
necessity,'  Disraeli  told  Lady  Bradford,  '  of  immediately 
accepting  the  challenge  of  Gladstone,  which  of  course  he 
counted  on  my  not  being  able  to  do.  But  a  political  mani- 
festo is  the  most  responsible  of  all  undertakings,  and  I  had 
not  a  human  being  to  share  that  responsibility.'  It  was  a 
Saturday  in  the  recess;  he  had  only  such  conveniences  at 

1  J.  Macdonald.  «  Where  the  Bradfords  lived. 

2  Of  Northumberland. 


his  disposal  as  two  l  miserable '  hotel  rooms  provided ;  he 
was  without  secretary,  papers,  or  books ;  and  his  colleagues 
were  all  scattered.  But,  in  spite  of  these  disabilities,  his 
indomitable  resolution  and  industry  enabled  him  to  issue 
his  reply  to  Gladstone's  appeal  on  the  following  Monday 
morning.  A  letter  to  Lady  Chesterfield  tells  how  it  was 

To  Anne  Lady  Chesterfield. 

EDWARDS'S  HOTEL,  Jan.  27,  1874. —  I  was  quite  taken  by  sur- 
prise. Luckily,  I  was  in  London:  as  you  perhaps  remember, 
I  curtailed  my  visit  to  dear  Bretby,  and  lost  a  day  of  your 
charming  society,  in  order  to  attend  a  meeting  of  the  Trustees 
of  the  Brit.  Museum,  whom  the  Government  threatened  with 
some  harassing  legislation. 

I  was  not  up  when  my  servant  brought  me  The  Times.  Be 
sure  I  did  not  go  to  the  Brit.  Museum,  but,  after  carefully 
studying  the  manifesto,  instantly  commenced  a  draft  of  answer, 
as  I  felt  everything  depended  on  an  immediate  reply.  Then, 
I  telegraphed  to  my  secretary,  Montagu  Corry,  who  was  at  his 
uncle's,  Lord  Shaftesbury,  in  Dorsetshire!  to  Ld.  Derby,  Lord 
Cairns,  Mr.  Hardy,  and  Sir  Stafford  Northcote.  Lord  Cairns 
and  Mr.  Hardy x  soon  appeared,  my  secretary  at  night ;  and 
working  hard  all  the  next  day  we  got  copies  prepared  for  all 
the  Monday  morning's  papers.  Our  friends  are  much  pleased 
with  my  reply,  and  are  full  of  courage. 

It  is  too  soon  to  speak  with  confidence  either  of  details,  or 
probable  result,  of  the  election ;  but,  generally  speaking,  we  are 
well  prepared,  for  there  had  been,  during  the  last  six  months, 
two  occasions  when  dissolution  seemed  inevitable,  so,  with  the 
exception  of  five  or  six  men  abroad,  all  our  candidates  are  at 

I  have  never  had  three  days  of  such  hard  work  in  my  life 
as  the  three  last;  writing,  talking,  seeing  hundreds  of  people, 
encouraging  the  timid  and  enlightening  the  perplexed. 

I  will  let  you  know,  however  roughly,  how  things  go  on.  But 
be  of  good  heart! 

The  Derbys  arrived  on  Sunday  night,  too  late  to  assist  me 

i  Hardy  did  not  arrive  till  after  the  address  had  been  settled  by 
Disraeli  in  conjunction  with  Cairns.  '  I  only  had  the  advantage,' 
Disraeli  told  Lady  Bradford,  '  of  the  critical  counsel  of  my  Lord  Chan- 
cellor, but  he  is  a  host.'  Hardy  suggested  a  few  changes  '  rather 
verbal  than  of  substance '  which  Disraeli  accepted.  See  Gathorne 
Hardy,  Vol.  L,  p.  334. 

274:  POWER  [CHAP,  vra 

with  his  counsel  with  my  address.  I  dined  with  them  yesterday 
alone.  .  .  . 

Think  of  me,  and  write  to  me,  whenever  you  can,  for  I  like, 
in  this  great  struggle,  to  feel  I  have  friends  whom  I  love. 

Mem.  I  agree  with  Carnarvon  that  Gladstone] 's  manifesto  is 
very  ill-written,  but  I  do  not  agree  with  Carnarvon  that  it  is 
not  in  his  usual  style.  I  think  his  usual  style  the  worst  I  know 
of  any  public  man;  and  that  it  is  marvellous  how  so  consum- 
mate an  orator  should,  the  moment  he  takes  the  pen,  be  so  in- 
volved, and  cumbersome,  and  infelicitous  in  expression. 

Many  considerations  had  converged  to  drive  Gladstone 
to  dissolution,  of  which  the  almost  unbroken  series  of  de- 
feats in  by-elections  was  perhaps  the  most  operative,  though 
the  outside  world,  and  especially  the  Opposition,  were  dis- 
posed to  attribute  most  importance  to  the  difficulty  about  his 
seat  in  Parliament.  But  the  immediate  occasion  was  a 
serious  difference  of  opinion  with  Cardwell  and  Goschen, 
the  Ministers  responsible  for  the  defence  of  the  country. 
To  realise  his  grandiose  scheme  of  total  abolition  of  income 
tax  Gladstone  wanted,  he  told  Granville,  from  three-quarters 
of  a  million  to  a  million  off  the  naval  and  military  estimates 
jointly;  and  the  two  Ministers  concerned  sturdily  resisted 
his  demands.  There  was  no  way  out  of  the  deadlock  save 
by  dissolution ;  but  in  the  verbosa  ei  grandis  epistola,  occupy- 
ing more  than  three  columns  of  The  Times,  which  Gladstone 
issued  to  the  electors  of  Greenwich,  the  country  was  never 
told  that,  in  order  to  realise  the  promised  boon,  it  would  be 
necessary  not  merely  to  have  an  '  adjustment.'  which  Dis- 
raeli interpreted  to  mean  an  increase  of  taxes,  but  also  to 
cut  down  the  naval  and  military  estimates  seriously  below 
what  the  Admiralty  and  the  War  Office  thought  requisite 
for  national  safety. 

If  Gladstone's  manifesto  was,  as  Disraeli  said,  '  a  prolix 
narrative,'  Disraeli's  answering  address  to  the  electors  of 
Bucks  was  rather  of  a  negative  character.  Remission  of 
taxation,  he  observed,  would  be  the  course  of  any  party 
or  any  Ministry  in  possession  of  a  large  surplus ;  and  as  for 
Gladstone's  principal  measures  of  relief,  the  diminution  of 


local  taxation  and  the  abolition  of  the  income  tax,  these  were 
'  measures  which  the  Conservative  party  have  always 
favoured  and  which  the  Prime  Minister  and  his  friends 
have  always  opposed.'  For  the  rest,  the  improvement  of 
the  condition  of  the  people  had  been  Disraeli's  aim  through- 
out, in  or  out  of  office,  but  not  by  l  incessant  and  harassing 
legislation.'  It  would  have  been  better  if,  during  the  last 
five  years,  '  there  had  been  a  little  more  energy  in  our  for- 
eign policy,  and  a  little  less  in  our  domestic  legislation.' 
After  blaming  the  Ministry  for  their  diplomatic  action  in 
regard  to  the  Straits  of  Malacca  —  an  obscure  and  intricate 
matter,  of  little  serious  importance,  which  loomed  largely 
in  election  speeches  and  then  disappeared  —  and  deprecat- 
ing further  extension  of  the  suffrage  at  the  moment,  Disraeli 
repeated  his  charge  that  our  national  institutions  were  not 
safe  in  Liberal  hands,  and  ended  on  the  imperial  note. 

Gentlemen,  the  impending  General  Election  is  one  of  no  mean 
importance  for  the  future  character  of  this  Kingdom.  There  is 
reason  to  hope,  from  the  address  of  the  Prime  Minister,  putting 
aside  some  ominous  suggestions  which  it  contains  as  to  the 
expediency  of  a  local  and  subordinate  Legislature,  that  he  is 
not,  certainly  at  present,  opposed  to  our  national  institutions  or 
to  the  maintenance  of  the  integrity  of  the  Empire.  But,  un- 
fortunately, among  his  adherents,  some  assail  the  Monarchy, 
others  impugn  the  independence  of  the  House  of  Lords,  while 
there  are  those  who  would  relieve  Parliament  altogether  from 
any  share  in  the  government  of  one  portion  of  the  United  King- 
dom. Others,  again,  urge  him  to  pursue  his  peculiar  policy  by 
disestablishing  the  Anglican  as  he  has  despoiled  the  Irish 
Church;  while  trusted  colleagues  in  his  Cabinet  openly  concur 
with  them  in  their  desire  altogether  to  thrust  religion  from 
the  place  which  it  ought  to  occupy  in  national  education. 

These,  Gentlemen,  are  solemn  issues,  and  the  impending  Gen- 
eral Election  must  decide  them.  Their  solution  must  be  arrived 
at  when  Europe  is  more  deeply  stirred  than  at  any  period  since 
the  Reformation,  and  when  the  cause  of  civil  liberty  and  religious 
freedom  mainly  depends  upon  the  strength  and  stability  of 
England.  I  ask  you  to  return  me  to  the  House  of  Commons 
to  resist  every  proposal  which  may  impair  that  strength  and  to 
support  by  every  means  her  imperial  sway. 

276  POWEK  [CHAP,  vra 

There  is  no  doubt  that  Disraeli  was  well  advised  in  basing 
his  main  appeal  on  the  desire  of  the  electorate  for  rest,  and 
on  their  sense  of  wounded  pride  at  the  disrepute  of  their 
country  abroad.  Great  sections  of  the  community  were  in 
arms  against  the  Government,  moved  either  by  resentment 
at  past  treatment,  or  by  fears  for  the  future ;  not  merely  the 
landed  interest,  always  Conservative  in  tendency,  but  also, 
on  the  one  hand,  the  clergy  and  an  overwhelming  proportion 
of  the  laity  of  the  Church  of  England,  together  with  those 
outside  her  pale  who  desired  religious  education  in  elemen- 
tary schools,  and,  on  the  other  hand,  the  brewers  and  the 
licensed  victuallers,  whom  Ministers  had  threatened  with 
even  more  stringent  regulation  than  that  which  they  had 
carried  through;  a  fortuitous  but  powerful  combination, 
which  Liberals  might  deride  as  '  beer  and  the  Bible,'  but 
which  they  realised  would  be  very  difficult  to  defeat.  More- 
over, some  of  the  classes  upon  which  the  Liberals  usually 
relied  were  far  from  enthusiastic  for  the  cause;  the  Dis- 
senters were  sore  over  the  Education  Bill,  and  the  working 
men  were  inclined  to  believe  that  their  social  aspirations 
would  meet  with  at  least  as  much  sympathy  from  a  demo- 
cratic Tory  Government  as  from  a  politico-economic  Lib- 
eral Administration.  In  external  affairs,  the  disregard  with 
which  British  representations  had  been  treated  in  1870  by 
France  and  Prussia,  Russia's  contemptuous  repudiation  of 
treaty  obligations,  and  the  humiliations  of  the  Alabama 
negotiations  and  award,  had  sunk  deeply  into  the  mind  of 
the  country,  and  made  men  of  different  opinions  unite  in 
a  resolve  to  have  a  Government  which  should  insure  re- 
spect for  Britain  among  the  nations  of  the  world.  The 
bait  of  abolition  of  income  tax  was  offered  in  vain  to  the 
classes  who  would  mainly  benefit  by  it,  as  they  were  the 
very  classes  who  had  most  reason  to  be  dissatisfied  with 
Ministers,  and  they  did  not  believe  that  abolition  could  be 
secured  without  readjustments  of  taxation  which  would 
hit  them  equally  hard.  To  many  even  among  the  Liberals 
the  mere  offer  of  such  a  bait  seemed  a  discreditable  election- 


neering  manoeuvre;  and  the  supporters  of  the  Government, 
as  a  body,  were  irritated  by  what  appeared  to  them  to  be  a 
capricious  and  premature  dissolution.  The  Conservatives 
had  the  advantage  both  in  organisation  and  in  leadership; 
Gorst's  machine  was  in  full  working  order,  while  the  Lib- 
eral caucus  had  not  yet  been  developed;  the  popularity  of 
the  l  People's  William '  J  had  temporarily  waned,  and  the 
eyes  of  the  country  were  fixed  on  his  rival,  who  had  given 
utterance  at  Manchester,  the  Crystal  Palace,  and  Glasgow 
to  the  ideas  which  were  beginning  to  stir  the  nation's  heart. 
It  seemed  probable,  therefore,  that  the  General  Election 
would  follow  the  lines  of  the  by-elections  and  result  in  a 
Conservative  success.  But  the  best  judges  on  that  side 
dared  not,  in  view  of  the  long  predominance  of  the  Liberals 
at  the  polls,  place  their  expectations  very  high.  Gorst's 
estimate  just  gave  them  a  majority,  but  so  small  a  ma- 
jority as  to  have  left  a  Conservative  Government  at  the 
mercy  of  any  malcontent  section. 

From  John  Eldon  Oorst. 

CARLTON  CLUB,  Jan.  30,  1874. —  Our  estimate  is  as  follows : 

Cons.  Had. 

England  ..  ..271         ..  189 

Wales       ..  ..10         ..  20 

Scotland  . .  12         . .  48 

Ireland  35  68 

328  325 

Thompson  thinks  this  is  fair  and  reasonable:  Taylor  says 
we  have  underestimated.  We  have  been  rather  hard  upon  the 
boroughs,  but  we  have  taken  a  sanguine  view  of  the  counties. 

One  feature  of  the  elections,  which  disturbed  the  calcula- 
tions of  wirepullers,  was  the  introduction  of  the  ballot ;  but 
Disraeli's  prediction  in  1872  was  absolutely  verified  that 
*  the  Government  which  first  appeals  to  the  country  on  the 
secret  suffrage,  will,  in  all  probability,  be  cashiered.'  Dis- 

i  This  was  the  popular  sobriquet  for  Gladstone  in  the  early  seven- 
ties ;  afterwards  superseded  by  the  '  Grand  Old  Man,'  or  '  G.O.M.' 

278  POWEK  [CHAP,  vin 

raeli's  expectations  during  the  contest  appear  from  his  let- 
ters to  Lady  Bradford. 

To  Lady  Bradford. 

CARLTON  CLUB,  Jan.  27,  1874. — .  .  .  It  is  impossible  to  form 
any  opinion  at  present  of  the  result  of  a  General  Election. 
There  has  not  yet  been  time  to  learn  the  feeling  of  the  country. 
But  I  see  no  signs  of  enthusiasm  on  the  part  of  the  Liberals,  and 
their  press  is  hesitating  and  dispirited. 

S.o  far  as  the  surprise  is  concerned,  we  are  as  prepared  as  our 
opponents.  There  is  no  possible  seat  without  a  candidate.  .  .  . 

Wednesday,  [Jan.  28]  — .  .  .  I  think  things  look  well.  What 
sustains  me  is  the  enthusiasm  among  the  great  constituencies. 
This  was  never  known  before.  I  shall  be  disappointed  if  we 
do  not  carry  both  seats  for  Westminster  and  two  for  the  City. 
Chelsea  even  looks  promising,  and  there  are  absolutely  spon- 
taneous fights  in  Finsbury  and  Hackney.  Nothing  like  this  ever 
occurred  before. 

I  am  making  no  sacrifice  in  writing  to  you.  It  relieves  my 
heart;  and  is  the  most  agreeable  thing  to  me,  next  to  receiving 
a  letter  from  you.  Yours,  this  morning,  gave  me  the  greatest 
pleasure.  In  the  greatest  trials  of  life,  it  sustains  one  to  feel 
that  you  are  remembered  by  those  whom  you  love. 

I  can  truly  say  that,  amid  all  this  whirl,  you  are  never,  for 
a  moment,  absent  from  my  thoughts  or  feelings. 

Thursday. — .  .  .  With  two  sons  candidates,  you  certainly  ought 
to  write  to  their  chief  every  day.  .  .  . 

HUGHENDEN  MANOR,  Pel}.  1. —  Yesterday  was  a  complete  suc- 
cess; to  my  content  —  and  you  know  that,  as  regards  my  own 
doings,  I  am  very  rarely  content.  I  think  the  Malacca  Straits 
will  now  be  pretty  well  understood  by  all  England  —  and  Mr. 
Gladstone  too. 

I  found  on  my  table  on  my  return  at  night  tels.  telling  me 
of  three  seats  gained  —  Guildf ord,  Andover,  Kidderminster ; 
and  two,  which  I  thought  lost,  saved  —  Eye  and  Lymington. 
That  looks  well;  but  I  will  not  indulge  in  hopes  till  I  have 
more  information:  much  must  be  known  which  is  not  known 
to  me,  for  the  telegraph  will  not  work  on  Sunday. 

Thursday  [Feb.  5]. — .  .  .  This  morning,  I  hear  from  the  Man- 
aging Committee  that  they  now  absolutely  contemplate  obtain- 
ing a  majority.  I  think  it  must  greatly  depend  on  this  day, 
which  was  always  the  critical  one.  If  London  and  West[min- 
ste]r  follow  Mary  [le]  bone,  the  situation  will  be  grave.  .  .  . 


Polling  began  at  the  end  of  the  last  week  in  January; 
and  before  the  close  of  the  first  week  in  February  the  bor- 
ough returns  were  known  and  were  decisive  of  the  general 
result.  The  grant  of  household  suffrage  in  boroughs,  which 
Salisbury  had  condemned  as  '  Parliamentary  suicide '  for 
the  Conservatives,  had  been  justified,  as  Disraeli  always 
maintained  that  it  would  be  justified,  even  from  a  party 
point  of  view.  Gorst  reported  on  February  6 :  i  If  all  the 
elections  were  to  go  as  we  estimated  at  the  time  when  we 
made  out  a  majority  of  3,  we  should  have  a  majority  of  27.' 
The  city  of  London  swung  over  to  the  Conservatives,  Goschen 
only  coming  in  as  the  minority  member,  and  Disraeli's 
Liberal  friend  Rothschild  suffering  a  final  defeat;  West- 
minster followed  the  City;  and  seats  were  won  at  Chelsea, 
Greenwich,  Marylebone,  Southwark,  and  Tower  Hamlets. 
At  Greenwich  Gladstone  was  only  returned  second  on  the 
poll,  below  a  Conservative ;  '  more  like  a  defeat  than  a 
victory,'  he  wrote.  Striking  Conservative  victories  were 
recorded  in  the  great  manufacturing  towns,  such  as  Man- 
chester, Leeds,  Bradford,  Sheffield,  Oldham,  Newcastle-on- 
Tyne,  Nottingham,  Stoke-on-Trent,  Wakefield,  Wigan, 
Warrington,  Stalybridge,  and  Northampton.  In  the  Eng- 
lish boroughs  as  a  whole  there  was  a  net  Conservative  gain 
of  over  thirty  seats.  No  wonder  the  Liberals  were  in  de- 
spair at  this  revelation  of  the  impression  produced  on 
the  working  man  by  five  years  of  Gladstonian  government. 

From  Montagu  Corry. 

CARLTON  CLUB,  Feb.  6,  '74. — .  .  .  There  is  a  panic,  I  am  told 
at  Brooks's:  there  was,  I  should  say,  for  all  is  now  bitterness 
and  despair.  Wolverton 1  has  fled  from  town  in  horror,  and 
the  cry  is  '  They  are  in  for  years.'  Gladstone  is  prostrate  and 
astounded,  and  his  colleagues  (in  two  cases  at  least  which  have 
come  to  my  knowledge)  announce  in  their  offices  that  the  next 
is  their  last  week  of  power. 

Wolverton's  advice  has  caused  the  whole  catastrophe,  which 
has  caught  a  Cabinet  in  a  fool's  paradise. 

The  Carlton  is  crowded  till  midnight :  all  the  dear  '  old  lot ' 

i  The  Liberal  Whip. 

280  POWER  [CHAP,  vra 

whom  we  know  so  well  —  all  the  frondeurs  and  the  cynics,  pro- 
fessors, now,  of  a  common  faith  —  cry  for  '  The  Chief,'  as  young 
hounds  bay  for  the  huntsman  the  day  after  the  frost  has  broken 

You  will  have  to  come,  next  week. 

We  meet  so  soon  that  I  say  no  more  —  except  to  record  what 
I  hear  on  every  side,  that  the  Newport  Pagnell  speech  has  im- 
measurably influenced  the  events  of  the  last  48  hours. 

During  the  elections  there  was  an  oratorical  duel  between 
Greenwich  and  Bucks ;  and  little  attention  was  paid  to  any- 
other  speeches  save  to  the  thrusts  and  parries  of  the  rival 
leaders.  These  orations  were  not  in  themselves  very  re- 
markable; though  Disraeli's  at  least  served  their  purpose 
of  heartening  his  party,  and  received  cordial  praise  from 
that  one  of  his  colleagues  on  whose  judgment  he  most  de- 
pended. 'A  splendid  effort/  Cairns  wrote  of  the  first;  of 
another,  'your  Newport  Pagnell  oration  must  certainly 
stand  at  the  head  of  all  the  election  speeches  of  this,  and 
perhaps  of  any,  crisis  •' ;  and  the  last  he  described  as  '  the 
fitting  topstone  of  the  series.'  One  passage  may  be  rescued 
in  which  Disraeli  distinguished  between  true  and  false 

All  Ministers  of  all  parties  are  in  favour  of  economy,  but  a 
great  deal  depends  upon  what  you  mean  by  economy.  I  ven- 
ture to  say,  that  I  do  not  believe  you  can  have  economical  gov- 
ernment in  any  country  in  which  the  chief  Minister  piques 
himself  upon  disregarding  the  interests  of  this  country  abroad, 
because  such  neglect  must  inevitably  lead  us  into  expenditure, 
and  an  expenditure  of  the  kind  over  which  we  have  the  least 
control.  We  are  in  the  habit  of  hearing  it  said  (and  nothing 
is  more  true)  that  the  most  econqmical  Government  we  ever 
had  was  the  Duke  of  Wellington's  —  and  why  was  it  ?  It  was 
because  the  Duke  of  Wellington  paid  the  greatest  possible  atten- 
tion, more  than  any  Minister  who  ever  ruled  in  this  country, 
to  the  interests  and  position  of  England  abroad.  .  .  . 

But  Mr.  Gladstone's  view  of  economy,  or  rather  the  view  of 
his  own  party  and  of  the  school  which  he  represents,  is  of  an- 
other kind.  He  says  — '  The  English  people  do  not  care  for  thei7* 
affairs  abroad.  I  don't  much  care  for  them  myself,  but  I  must 
have  economy.  I  must  discharge  dockyard  workmen.  I  must 

1874]  HEAD  OF  THE  POLL  IN  BUCKS  281 

reduce  clerks.  I  must  sell  the  Queen's  stores.  I  must  starve 
the  Queen's  services.  I  must  sell  the  accumulations  of  timber 
in  the  dockyards  and  arsenals.  I  must  sell  all  the  anchors  be- 
longing to  the  navy.  I  must  sell ' —  which  we  were  selling  for 
the  first  year  or  two  — '  half  the  ships  in  the  navy.'  And  this 

is  economy 

The  county  elections  emphasised  the  tendency  of  the 
borough  returns.  The  home  counties  followed  the  lead  of 
London ;  the  Liberals  were  swept  out  of  Middlesex,  Surrey, 
Essex,  and  Sussex,  where  the  representation  had  hitherto 
been  divided.  In  the  whole  of  this  area,  including,  besides 
the  four  counties  already  mentioned,  Kent,  Herts,  Bucks, 
and  Berks,  there  were  only  three  Liberal  candidates  re- 
turned for  county  seats,  the  minority  members  for  Herts, 
Bucks,  and  Berks.  Disraeli  was  for  the  first  time  at  the 
head  of  the  poll,  his  old  colleague  Du  Pre  having  retired. 
The  figures  were:  Disraeli  (C)  3004,  Harvey  (C)  2902, 
Lambert  (L)  1720  —  all  these  elected,  and  Talley  (LC) 
151.  Though  the  verdict  of  the  metropolitan  area  was  per- 
haps the  most  outstanding  feature  of  the  elections,  victories 
were  reported  from  counties  in  all  parts  of  England,  de- 
spite the  fact  that  the  Conservatives  already  held  the  ma- 
jority of  the  county  seats. 

The  Conservative  majority  in  England  was  over  110 ; 
and  substantial  gains  were  even  made  in  Liberal  Scotland 
(9)  and  in  Liberal  Wales  (2).  In  Ireland  a  new  situation 
arose,  more  disquieting  for  the  Liberals  than  for  the  Con- 
servatives, though  it  involved  the  nominal  loss  of  a  few 
seats  to  the  latter.  The  first  response  of  Ireland  to  Glad- 
stone's remedial  legislation  had  been  a  violent  recrudescence 
of  crime ;  the  second,  a  revival  in  a  more  specious  form  of 
the  Repeal  agitation,  on  the  plea  that  the  British  Parlia- 
ment was  incompetent  to  remedy  Irish  grievances.  This 
movement  was  started  by  Isaac  Butt,  a  distinguished  Irish 
lawyer,  who  had  won  popularity  by  his  exertions  in  defend- 
ing Fenian  prisoners.  He  christened  his  new  policy  '  Home 
Rule '  and  invited  all  Irishmen,  independently  of  party, 

282  POWER  [CHAP,  vm 

to  join  him.  He  had  sat  himself  at  Westminster  in  past 
years  as  a  Conservative,  and  had  been  one  of  the  original 
writers  in  Disraeli's  Press;  and  Disraeli,  at  first,  mistaking 
the  movement  as  merely  one  for  local  government,  expressed 
a  wish  to  have  in  Parliament  Conservative,  as  well  as  Lib- 
eral, Home  Rulers.  The  rapid  spread  of  Butt's  organisa- 
tion, and  the  disintegrating  doctrines  which  it  preached, 
speedily  enlightened  him  as  to  its  tendency,  and  he  offered 
it  a  strong  opposition.  Butt  returned  to  Parliament  at  a 
by-election  in  1871  as  a  Home  Ruler;  and  the  new  party, 
under  his  guidance,  took  a  material  share  in  the  rejection 
of  Gladstone's  Irish  University  Bill.  When  the  General 
Election  came,  they  won  seats  all  over  Ireland,  heavily  de- 
feating Chichester  Fortescue,  who  had  been  Gladstone's 
Chief  Secretary  and  right-hand  man  in  Irish  policy;  and 
at  a  meeting  in  Dublin  they  formally  severed  themselves 
from  connection  with  any  British  party.  Ireland,  which 
in  1868  had  sent  to  Parliament  67  Liberals  and  38  Con- 
servatives, was  represented  in  1874  by  only  12  Liberals  and 
34  Conservatives,  while  there  were  57  Home  Rulers,  con- 
stituting an  actual  majority  of  the  Irish  representation. 
The  final  figures  of  the  whole  election  were:  Conserva- 
tives, 350;  Liberals  (including  two  representatives  of  La- 
bour), 245;  Home  Rulers  (among  whom  an  appreciable 
minority  claimed  to  be  Conservative),  57.  While  the  Con- 
servatives, therefore,  had  a  majority  of  about  fifty  over  all 
other  parties,  they  could  boast,  as  compared  with  the  Lib- 
erals alone,  of  a  balance  of  over  a  hundred:  a  position  of 
extraordinary  strength  and  security. 

As  the  returns  came  in,  Disraeli's  letters  naturally  be- 
came more  jubilant,  in  spite  of  his  disgust  at  being  forced 
into  an  unnecessary  contest  in  Bucks. 

To  Lady  Bradford. 

HUGHENDEN  MANOR,  Friday  [Feb.  6,  1874], —  Amid  1000 
affairs,  I  write  to  you  one  line.  I  have  written  to  Lady  Ches : 
I  am  detained  here  by  my  contested!  I  election.  No  danger, 

1874]  SIZE  OF  THE  MAJORITY  283 

but  great  trouble  when  I  have  so  much  to  think  of  and  do,  and 
great  and  vexatious  expense,  for  nothing.1 

My  last  accounts  are  that  we  have  gained  40  seats,  equal  to 
80  on  a  division,  and  have  now  a  majority  of  14  over  Gladstone. 
That  majority  will  increase. 

Amid  all  this,  I  continually  think  of  you  and  of  your  grief, 
and  should  like  to  wipe  the  tears  from  your  eyes,  for  I  feel 
they  flow.  Bear  up !  Francis  2  is  young,  and  if  we  prosper  he 
will  soon  have  his  way. 

I  think  of  going  up  to  town  on  Monday,  but  on  Tuesday  or 
Wednesday  I  must  be  at  Buckingham  and  speak.3  This  is 
horrid ! 

Feb.  8. — .  .  .  Myself,  I  do  not  think  the  crisis  so  near  as  the 
world  does.  I  think  he  will  meet  Parliament,  if  only  not  to 
imitate  me.  .  .  . 

Our  gains  up  to  last  night  were  46  =  92 ;  more  than  Peel 
gained  in  1841,  and  more  than  Gladstone  gained  in  ]868. 

I  am  very  well,  but  sigh  for  moonlight.  I  think  I  could  live, 
and  love,  in  that  light  for  ever! 

Thursday  [Feb.  12]. — .  .  .  I  hear  from  high  authority  that 
the  crisis  is  at  hand,  and  that  G.'s  colleagues  will  not  support 
him  in  his  first  idea  of  meeting  Parliament. 

The  Fairy4  will  be  here  on  the  17th. 

We  shall  have  50  majority;  the  strongest  Government  since 
Pitt.  .  .  . 

If  Ministers  were  about  to  follow  the  precedent  of  1868 
and  resign  at  once  without  meeting  Parliament,  and  if  a 
strong  and  representative  Conservative  Administration  was 
to  be  ready  to  take  their  place,  no  time  must  be  lost  on 
the  Opposition  side  in  healing  the  breach  caused  by  the 

1  The  expenses  were  subsequently  met  by  a  spontaneous  movement 
among  Disraeli's  constituents,  anxious  to  show  their  '  pride  and  grati- 
fication '    at    the    eminent    position    which    their    representative    had 

2  The   Hon.   F.    Bridgeman,   afterwards   General   Bridgeman    ( 1846- 
1917),  was  defeated  at  Stafford. 

s  It  was  in  this  speech  that  Disraeli,  with  office  looming  in  the 
immediate  future,  congratulated  Bucks  on  having  supplied  four,  or 
(in  some  reports)  five,  Prime  Ministers  out  of  thirty  in  all.  They 
were  George  Grenville,  Lord  Shelburne,  Duke  of  Portland  (twice),  and 
Lord  Grenville.  Disraeli  was  himself  a  Bucks  man  by  adoption. 

*  Disraeli's  romantic  imagination  conceived  of  his  Royal  Mistrees  as 
the  Faerie  Queene  of  Spenser:  and  to  his  intimates  he  wrote  of  her  as 
'the  Fairy,'  or  'Faery.'  See  Vol.  VI.,  ch.  '  Beaconsfield  and  the 

284  POWER  [CHAP,  vra 

Reform  policy  of  1867.  General  Peel  had  retired  from 
Parliament  and  public  life  in  1868,  and  so  had  no  longer 
to  be  reckoned  with.  With  Carnarvon  Disraeli  had  just 
re-established  amicable  relations  through  the  good  offices  of 
Lady  Chesterfield,  Carnarvon's  mother-in-law.  There  re- 
mained Salisbury,  at  once  the  most  distinguished  and  power- 
ful, and  the  most  bitter,  of  the  secessionists.  He  had,  in- 
deed, been  working  in  general  harmony  with  his  old  col- 
leagues in  the  House  of  Lords  throughout  the  Gladstone 
Administration ;  and  had  given  cordial  support  to  Disraeli's 
lieutenant  there,  the  Duke  of  Richmond.  But  his  distrust 
of  Disraeli  himself  had  apparently  not  abated.  No  direct 
communication  whatever  had  passed  between  them  since  they 
parted  in  March,  1867 ;  the  overture  about  office  in  Febru- 
ary, 1868,  having  been  made  through  Northcote,  and  re- 
jected in  so  summary  a  fashion  as  to  close  the  door  upon 
amicable  intercourse.  Disraeli,  who  had  been  ready 
throughout  for  reconciliation,  had  taken  advantage  of  his 
visit  in  December  to  Hardy's  house  in  Kent  to  pay  a  friendly 
call  on  Salisbury's  sister,  Lady  Mildred  Beresford-Hope, 
whose  husband's  antagonism  to  him  rivalled  Salisbury's; 
and,  for  a  final  healing  of  the  breach,  he  now  made  use  of 
the  kindly  offices  of  the  lady  who  was  at  once  Derby's  wife 
and  Salisbury's  stepmother.  Salisbury's  main  objections 
of  a  public  character  had  been  met  by  Disraeli's  refusal  to 
take  office  in  a  minority  in  1873,  and  by  the  fact  that  a 
Conservative  Government  in  1874  would  have  a  secure 
majority.  Nevertheless,  before  consenting  even  to  meet 
Disraeli,  Salisbury,  we  are  told,  went  through  a  severe 
mental  struggle;  but  public  spirit  and  a  noble  ambition 
prevailed.  Disraeli  was  so  well  aware  both  of  the  strength 
of  Salisbury's  distrust  and  of  his  vital  importance  as  a 
colleague  in  office  that  until  the  meeting,  which  was  at  first 
accidentally  delayed,  had  been  satisfactorily  effected  and 
agreement  reached,  he  did  not  disguise  his  anxiety. 

1874]  SUMMONS  TO  WINDSOR  285 

To  Lord  Salisbury. 

2,  WHITEHALL  GARDENS,  Feb.  16,  1874. —  Lady  Derby  tells  me, 
that  she  thinks  it  very  desirable,  and  that  you  do  not,  altogether, 
disagree  with  her,  that  you  and  myself  should  have  some  con- 
versation on  the  state  of  public  affairs. 

The  high  opinion  which,  you  well  know,  I  always  had  of 
your  abilities,  and  the  personal  regard  which,  from  the  first,  I 
entertained  for  you,  and  which  is  unchanged,  would  render 
such  a  conversation  interesting  to  me,  and,  I  think,  not  dis- 
advantageous to  either  of  us,  or  to  the  public  interests. 

I  should  be  very  happy  to  see  you  here,  at  your  convenience, 
or  I  would  call  on  you,  or  I  would  meet  you  at  a  third  place, 
if  you  thought  it  more  desirable. 

From  Lord  Salisbury. 

BEDGEBURY  PARK,  CRANBROOK,  Feb.  16,  1874. —  It  would  cer- 
tainly be  satisfactory  to  me  to  hear  your  views  upon  some  of 
the  subjects  which  must  at  present  be  occupying  your  attention 
—  the  more  so  that  I  do  not  anticipate  that  they  would  be  ma- 
terially in  disaccord  with  my  own.  I  am  much  obliged  to  you 
for  proposing  to  give  me  the  opportunity  of  doing  so.  In  con- 
formity with  your  suggestion  I  called  on  you  this  afternoon; 
but  I  was  not  fortunate  enough  to  find  you  at  home.  .  .  . 

Just  in  the  nick  of  time  Disraeli  found  a  house  to  suit 
him  in  Whitehall  Gardens,1  within  a  short  walk  both  of 
Downing  Street  and  of  Westminster  Palace ;  and  so  he  was 
able  to  escape  the  inconveniences  of  an  hotel,  and,  as  he  told 
Lady  Bradford,  '  live  again  like  a  gentleman.'  To  White- 
hall Gardens  he  came  up  before  the  close  of  the  second  week 
in  February,  and  in  private  conferences  with  his  principal 
counsellors,  Derby,  Cairns,  and  Hardy,  settled  the  general 
plan  of  his  Ministry,  so  that  he  was  fully  prepared  when 
General  Ponsonby  arrived  with  the  expected  message  on  the 
evening  of  Tuesday  the  17th.  Ponsonby  found  him  '  much 
more  open,  lively,  and  joyous '  than  at  the  crisis  in  the 
preceding  year;  not  concealing  his  delight  at  the  astonish- 
ing majority,  which  had  shown,  he  claimed,  how  correct 
was  the  information  on  which  he  wrote  the  Bath  letter. 

i  No.  2,  Whitehall  Gardens  has  in  recent  years  become,  very  appro- 
priately, the  office,  first,  of  the  Committee  of  Imperial  Defence,  and, 
afterwards,  of  Mr.  Lloyd  George's  War  Cabinet, 

286  POWEK  [CHAP,  vra 

From,  Queen  Victoria. 

WINDSOR  CASTLE,  Feb.  17,  '74. —  The  Queen  has  just  seen  Mr. 
Gladstone,  who  has  tendered  his  resignation  and  that  of  his 
colleagues,  which  she  has  accepted.  She  therefore  writes  to 
Mr.  Disraeli  to  ask  him  to  undertake  to  form  a  Government. 

The  Queen  would  wish  to  see  Mr.  Disraeli  here  at  J/2  Past  12 
to-morrow  morning. 

To  Lady  Bradford. 

Y^  to  7  o'cTc.,  Tuesday,  Felt.  17. —  General  Ponsonby,  who 
brought  me  a  letter  from  the  Queen,  has  just  left  me.  I  go  down 
to  Windsor  to-morrow  morning  at  11  o'ck. 

I  have  seen  Lord  Salisbury,  who  joins  the  Government. 

Disraeli  knew  that  a  cordial  welcome  awaited  him  at 
Windsor.  Lady  Ely  had  written  to  him  on  the  Monday: 
'  My  dear  mistress  will  be  very  happy  to  see  you  again, 
and  I  know  how  careful  and  gentle  you  are  about  all  that 
concerns  her.  I  think  you  understand  her  so  well,  besides 
appreciating  her  noble  fine  qualities.'  The  Queen  was  in 
sympathy  with  the  country  in  desiring  a  less  harassing 
time  in  domestic  legislation,  and  a  prouder  outlook  in  for- 
eign affairs ;  and  she  had  a  pleasant  recollection  of  the  care 
for  her  wishes  and  her  honour  which  had  marked  Disraeli's 
short  Administration  in  1868. 

Memorandum  by  Queen  Victoria. 

Feb.  18. —  Mr.  Disraeli  came  at  J/2  P-  12.  He  expressed  great 
surprise  at  the  result  of  the  elections.  He  had  thought  there 
might  have  been  a  very  small  majority  for  them ;  but  nothing 
like  this  had  been  anticipated,  and  no  party  organisation  cd. 
have  caused  this  result  of  a  majority  of  nearly  64.  Not  since 
the  time  of  Pitt  and  Fox  had  there  been  anything  like  it.  Even 
in  '41  when  such  a  large  majority  had  been  returned  for  Sir  R. 
Peel,  it  had  not  been  so  extraordinary,  because  he  had  had  a 
small  majority.  It  justified,  he  said,  the  course  he  had  pursued 
last  March  in  declining  to  take  office.  .  .  .  Sir  J.  Pakington 
Providence  had  disposed  of,1  as  he  amusingly  said.  .  .  .  He  was 
anxious  to  bring  as  much  new  talent  and  blood  into  the  Govt. 
as  possible.  .  .  .  He  repeatedly  said  whatever  I  wished  shd.  be 
done  —  whatever  his  difficulties  might  be! 

i  Pakington  was  defeated  at  Droitwich,  and  raised  to  the  peerage  as 
Lord  Hampton. 


Disraeli  returned  from  his  audience  of  the  Queen  with 
his  Cabinet  fully  matured  and  provisionally  approved,  and 
he  gave  an  account  of  his  arrangements  to  the  colleague  who 
had  now  for  four  years  led  the  Conservative  party  in  the 

To  the  Duke  of  Richmond, 

Private.  WHITEHALL  GARDENS,  Feb.  18,  1874. —  I  had  an  audi- 
ence of  the  Queen  to-day  at  Windsor,  from  which  I  have  this 
moment  returned,  when  Her  Majesty  directed  me  to  form  an 
Administration  and  invited  my  views,  how  the  Cabinet  was  to 
be  constructed. 

I  said,  that  I  thought  it  ought  not  to  be  too  large,  that  it 
should  not  exceed  12  members  and  that  they  might  be  divided 
equally  between  the  two  Houses. 

I  proposed  that  your  Grace  should  take  the  lead  and  manage- 
ment of  the  House  of  Lords,  in  which  you  have  been  successful, 
with  the  post  of  Lord  President,  supported  by  the  Lord  Chan- 
cellor, and  three  Secretaries  of  State,  namely  Foreign,  Indian, 
and  Colonial,  filled  by  Lords  Derby,  Salisbury,  and  Carnarvon 
respectively;  that  these  secretaryships,  not  being  departments 
connected  with  the  great  branches  of  expenditure,  might  fairly 
be  placed  in  the  Lords:  and,  with  the  Privy  Seal,  that  would 
account  for  a  moiety  of  the  Cabinet. 

In  the  Commons,  [that]  the  Treasury  would  be  represented  by 
myself,  and  Sir  Stafford  Northcote  as  Chancellor  of  Exchequer, 
and  that  the  two  great  spending  departments  of  Army  and  Navy 
I  proposed  to  entrust  to  Mr.  Hardy  and  Mr.  Hunt,  as  it  was 
impossible  to  sustain  debate  in  the  Commons,  if  these  great 
offices  were  represented  by  little  men. 

It  would  be  necessary  to  introduce  '-a  stranger  to  public,  or 
rather  official,  life  for  the  office  of  Home  Secretary,  and  I 
mentioned  for  Her  Majesty's  consideration  the  name  of  Mr. 
Cross,  the  Member  for  Lancashire. 

Lord  John  Manners  would,  as  Postmaster-General,  complete 
the  other  moiety. 

The  Queen  will  consider  all  this,  and  I  shall  hear  from  her 
probably  this  evening,  but  Her  Majesty  viewed  the  scheme  fa- 
vorably, and  I  am  now  going  to  communicate  it  to  my  con- 
templated colleagues.  I  earnestly  hope  that  you,  and  they,  may 
also  favorably  receive  it,  as  I  count  much  upon  your  support.  .  .  . 

This  is  rather  a  rough  epistle,  but  I  have  had  rather  a  rough 
day.  Excuse  its  shortcomings,  and  believe  me,  that  it  is  writ- 
ten with  a  sincere  and  anxious  desire  to  secure  for  the  Queen 

288  POWER  [CHAP,  vm 

a  valuable  servant,  and  for  us  all  a  colleague,  whom  we  greatly 
regard,  and  highly  respect  and  esteem. 

The  formation  of  the  Cabinet  proceeded  without  friction 
among  Disraeli's  colleagues.  Malmesbury,  who  became 
Privy  Seal,  expressed  a  very  general  feeling  in  his  letter  of 
acceptance.  '  In  the  almost  unexampled  importance  of 
your  present  position  you  must,  at  any  sacrifice  of  your 
personal  predilections,  look,  not  to  the  past  services,  but 
to  the  future  usefulness  of  your  colleagues.'  The  Cabinet 
accordingly  was  constituted  as  follows : 

First  Lord  of  the  Treasury B.  DISRAELI. 

Lord   Chancellor.  . . . LORD  CAIRNS. 

Lord  President DUKE  OF  RICHMOND. 

Lord  Privy  Seal EARL  OF  MALMESBURY. 

Home  Secretary RICHARD  A.  CROSS. 

Foreign   Secretary EARL  OF  DERBY. 

Colonial  Secretary EARL  OF  CARNARVON. 

War   Secretary GATHORNE   HARDY. 

Indian  Secretary MARQUIS  OF  SALISBURY. 

Chancellor  of  the  Exchequer Sm  STAFFORD  NORTHCOTE. 

First  Lord  of  the  Admiralty. .....  G.  WARD  HUNT. 

Postmaster-General    LORD  JOHN  MANNERS. 

Wisely  restricted  to  the  very  manageable  number  of 
twelve  persons,1  it  was  as  strong  and  capable  a  Cabinet  as 
has  ever  taken  over  the  government  of  this  country.  In 
its  chief  it  had  the  most  arresting  figure  in  politics  since  the 
death  of  Pitt ;  in  Salisbury  a  man  who  was  destined  to  hold 
in  the  future  a  place  in  history  little  less  than  his  chief, 
and  who  was  even  then  recognised  as  of  unlimited  promise. 
Besides  these  two  there  were  four  statesmen,  not  unequal 
to  the  first  place  if  fortune  should  accord  it  to  them  — 
Cairns,  Derby,  Hardy,  and  Northcote;  five  more  who  had 
given  proofs,  either  of  character  or  of  cleverness  or  of  ad- 
ministrative ability  beyond  the  common  —  Richmond, 
Malmesbury,  Carnarvon,  Hunt,  and  Manners ;  and  one  new 
man  —  Cross,  who  was  to  administer  the  Home  Office  in 
such  fashion  as  to  set  a  shining  example  to  future  Govern- 
i  Gladstone's  Cabinet  had  numbered  fifteen. 

1874]  THE  CABINET  289 

ments.  Little  difficulty  was  found  in  allotting  the  depart- 
ments. Cairns,  Malmesbury,  Derby,  Carnarvon,  and  Salis- 
bury went  naturally  back  to  the  offices  which  they  had  filled 
in  one  or  other  of  the  Cabinets  of  1866-68,  and  where 
Cairns  and  Derby  at  least  had  served  with  much  distinction. 
For  Richmond,  as  leader  of  the  Lords,  the  Presidency  of  the 
Council  was  a  suitable  post.  Northcote,  the  only  financier 
in  the  Commons  capable  of  coping  with  Gladstone,  was  in 
his  right  place  at  the  Exchequer,  where,  but  for  the  Abyssin- 
ian War,  he  would  have  been  sent  in  1868 ;  and  it  was  wise 
to  allot  to  Hardy,  perhaps  the  most  successful  administrator 
as  well  as  the  most  fervid  orator  of  the  party,  the  delicate 
task  of  conducting  the  military  forces  of  the  Crown  through 
the  transition  period  inaugurated  by  the  Cardwell  reforms, 
with  a  view  to  their  transformation  into  an  army  of  modern 
type.  There  was,  indeed,  no-  particular  reason  why  Ward 
Hunt,  whose  reputation  had  been  gained  at  the  Treasury, 
should  have  been  sent  to  administer  the  Admiralty;  and 
there  may  be  some  who,  remembering  Hunt's  enormous 
size  and  physical  weight,  will  suspect  Disraeli  of  having  had 
a  double  meaning  when  he  wrote  to  Richmond  that  a  great 
office  like  that  of  First  Lord  should  not  be  •  represented  by 
a  little  man.  Manners,  too,  was  perhaps  a  square  peg  in 
a  round  hole  with  a  business  department  like  the  Post 
Office ;  and  he  told  Disraeli  he  was  '  rather  apprehensive ' 
of  not  fulfilling  expectations.  Cross's  appointment  was  the 
natural  outcome  of  the  substantial  support  given  by  his  na- 
tive Lancashire  to  the  Conservative  cause ;  his  qualifications, 
as  lawyer  and  man  of  affairs,  were  vouched  for  by  the  Lan- 
cashire magnate,  Derby,  and  had  been  recognised  by  Dis- 
raeli on  his  Manchester  excursion. 

A  galaxy  of  ability  in  a  Cabinet  does  not  always  promote 
efficiency.  Unless  Ministers  are  deeply  imbued  with  loy- 
alty to  a  cause  or  a  chief,  their  individual  cleverness  may 
indeed  tend  to  resolve  them  into  a  chaos  of  jarring  atoms. 
But  this  Cabinet  was  bound  together  by  strong  confidence 
in  its  chief.  There  were  only  two  men,  Salisbury  and 

290  POWEK  [CHAP,  vm 

Carnarvon,  who  entered  it  with  any  misgiving ;  and  there  is 
evidence  that  Salisbury,  at  any  rate,  having  once,  though 
with  difficulty,  brought  himself  to  come  in,  sought  loyally 
from  the  first  for  points  of  agreement  rather  than  of  differ- 
ence, and  did  his  utmost  to  make  the  combination  a  success. 
For  the  rest  of  the  Cabinet,  four  of  them  —  Derby,  Manners, 
Malmesbury,  and  Northcote  —  were  bound  to  Disraeli  by 
ties  of  long-standing  personal  friendship  and  political  com- 
panionship^ and  though  the  intimacy  with  Cairns  and  Hardy 
was  more  recent,  the  friendship  and  mutual  confidence  were 
almost  equally  strong.  With  Richmond  as  leader  in  the 
Lords  there  had  been  four  years  of  harmonious  working; 
and  Hunt  and  Cross  owed  their  promotion  to  their  chiefs 
appreciation  of  their  ability. 

If  the  Cabinet  was  capable  and  united,  there  were  men 
of  note  in  responsible  positions  outside.  The  most  rising 
of  the  new  men,  Sir  Michael  Hicks  Beach,  whose  exclusion 
from  the  Cabinet  was  almost  accidental,  became  Chief  Sec- 
retary for  Ireland.  A  first-class  man  of  business,  William 
Henry  Smith,  was  appointed  Secretary  of  the  Treasury; 
and  in  Lord  George  Hamilton  Disraeli  discovered  a  young 
man  who  justified  his  discernment,  and  who  proved  adequate 
to  the  heavy  task  of  representing  India  in  the  House  of 
Commons.  Lord  George  had  been  offered  the  Under-Sec- 
retaryship  for  Foreign  Affairs,  but  had  been  doubtful  of  his 
French :  Disraeli  assured  him  that  at  the  India  Office  there 
would  be  no  necessity  of  speaking  either  Hindustani  or 
Persian.  Sir  John  Karslake  and  Sir  Richard  Baggallay 
were  the  law  officers ;  not  perhaps  quite  so  admirable  a  com- 
bination as  that  which  succeeded  them  in  the  later  years 
of  the  Government,  Sir  John  Holker  and  Sir  Hardinge 
Giffard.  In  Hart  Dyke  Disraeli  had  a  most  efficient  Chief 
Whip.  The  Lord-Lieutenancy  of  Ireland  proved  a  diffi- 
culty, as  often  before  and  since.  The  Duke  of  Abercorn, 
who  had  filled  the  post  with  such  distinction  from  1866  to 
1868,  at  first  refused  it ;  but  after  ineffectual  attempts  had 
been  made  to  obtain  the  services  first  of  the  Duke  of  Marl- 

1874]  LORD  H.  LENNOX  OFFENDED  291 

borough,  and  then  of  the  Duke  of  Northumberland,  he  was 
pressed  to  reconsider  his  decision  and  ultimately  consented. 
The  government  of  Scotland  was  placed  in  the  capable  hands 
of  Lord-Advocate  Gordon,  whose  mettle  Disraeli  had  al- 
ready proved. 

No  statesman  ever  succeeded  in  forming  a  Ministry 
without  giving  more  or  less  serious  offence  in  some  quar- 
ter. There  was  a  clever  friend  of  Disraeli's,  who  as  a  young 
man  had  been  one  of  his  discoveries,  but  who,  owing  to  a 
certain  instability  of  character,  had  hardly  fulfilled  an- 
ticipations. Him  Disraeli  approached  in  the  most  tactful 
and  conciliatory  manner,  making  him  an  offer  somewhat 
above  his  deserts,  but  decidedly  below  his  hopes. 

To  Lord  Henry  Lennox. 

WHITEHALL  GDNS.,  Feb.  19,  '74. —  The  Queen  said  to  me  yes- 
terday, that  there  was  one  office  which  she  was  always  anxious 
about,  and  that  was  the  President  of  the  Board  of  Works:  it 
touched  her  more  personally  than  most. 

When  I  told  Her  Majesty,  that  I  contemplated  recommending 
her  to  appoint  you,  she  appeared  relieved,  and  pleased. 

It  is  an  office  with  a  great  deal  of  work;  but  agreeable  work. 
It  gives  room  for  the  exercise  of  your  taste  and  energy.  The 
parks,  the  palaces,  and  the  public  buildings  of  London,  under 
your  rule,  will  become  an  ornament  to  the  nation,  and  a  credit 
to  the  Government,  of  which,  I  trust,  you  will  thus  become  a 

Lennox,  who  had  set  his  heart  on  Cabinet  rank  —  very 
unreasonably,  considering  that  his  brother,  the  Duke  of 
Richmond,  was  bound  to  be  of  the  number  —  was  deeply 
hurt.  Though  he  accepted  the  post  and  kept  up  the  forms 
of  the  old  affectionate  friendship  with  Disraeli,  he  *  never 
forgave  the  indignity,'  and  spoke  of  his  chief  to  others  with 
*  venomous  acerbity.'  Such  is  the  testimony  of  Lord 
Redesdale,  who  as  Bertram  Mitford  served  as  Secretary 
to  the  Board  of  Works  under  Lennox's  presidency,  and  who 
was  himself  deeply  attached  to  Disraeli.  Lennox's  ad- 
ministration was  not  a  success,  caused  Disraeli  frequent 
worry,  and  came  to  a  premature  end. 

292  POWEE  [CHAP,  vm 

'  The  first  thing  after  the  Cabinet  is  formed  is  the  House- 
hold/ remarked  a  magnate  in  Coningsby.  To  this  delicate 
part  of  his  task,  so  interesting  to  the  great  people  among 
whom  he  moved,  Disraeli's  mind  was  directed  on  his  very 
first  audience  of  the  Queen;  as  he  hoped  by  a  Household 
appointment  to  gratify  the  wishes  of  his  dearest  friend. 

To  Lady  Bradford. 

WINDSOR  CASTLE,  Feb.  18,  1874. —  It  is  doubtful  whether  I 
shall  see  you  to-day,  for  a  tremendous  pressure  awaits  me  when 
I  get  back  to  town ;  which  I  think  may  be  about  J/2  past  4  or  5 ; 
but  I  hope  to  try  in  the  evening. 

What  you  suggested  in  your  note  of  this  morning  had  already 
occurred  to  me,  some  days  ago ;  but  the  difficulties  are  immense, 
as  you  will  see  when  we  meet.  Yet  they  will,  I  trust,  be  over- 
come, for  I  am  influenced  in  this  matter  by  a  stronger  feeling 
even  than  ambition. 

To  Anne  Lady  Chesterfield. 

2,  WHITEHALL  GARDENS,  Feb.  21. —  Yesterday  I  kissed  hands, 
and  to-day  I  take  down  Carnarvon  to  Windsor  and  make  him  a 
Secy,  of  State,  which,  I  hope,  will  please  you. 

Bradford  is  Master  of  the  Horse,  and  Selina  will  ride  in  royal 
carriages,  break  the  line  even  in  the  entree,  and  gallop  over  all 
Her  Majesty's  lieges.  I  see  a  difference  already  in  her  de- 
meanor. .  .  . 

It  was  in  the  course  of  the  formation  of  the  Household 
that  Disraeli  was  first  brought  face  to  face  with  a  thorny 
problem,  which  was  to  divide  his  Cabinet  in  their  first 
session,  and  to  range  against  the  Government  a  section  of 
the  community  who  should  have  been  among  the  firmest 
upholders  of  Conservatism.  The  spread  of  Ritualism  was 
a  marked  feature  of  the  day,  and  one  specially  repugnant 
to  the  Queen ;  who  refused  to  admit  advanced  High  Church- 
men into  that  personal  service  to  herself  which  the  House- 
hold involved  unless  they  undertook  not  to  take  a  prominent 
part  in  Church  politics.  Disraeli  turned  in  this  difficulty 
to  the  leading  High  Churchman  in  his  Cabinet. 

1874]      DIFFICULTY  ABOUT  THE  HOUSEHOLD          293 

To  Lord  Salisbury. 

2,  WHITEHALL  GARDENS,  Feb.  22,  1874. —  You  were  very  right 
in  saying,  that  the  only  obvious  difficulties  we  should  have  in 
our  Govt.  would,  or  rather  might,  be  religious  ones. 

Last  night,  the  Queen,  while  accepting  the  appointment  of 
Beauchamp  as  a  favor  to  myself,  requires  that  there  shall  be  an 
undertaking  from  him,  that  he  will  take  no  prominent  part  in 
Ch.  politics. 

It  is  very  desirable,  Her  Majesty  adds,  that  this  condition 
should  be  clearly  understood,  as  she  looks  upon  the  views  of  the 
Ch.  party  with  wh.  Ld.  B.  is  connected,  as  detrimental  to  the 
interests  of  the  Oh.  of  England,  and  dangerous  to  the  Protestant 

The  Queen,  therefore,  could  give  no  countenance  to  that  party 
by  admitting  a  prominent  member  of  it  into  the  Royal  House- 

This  morning  comes  another  letter.  She  hears  with  regret, 
that  Lord  Bath  is  as  bad,  as  Lord  Beauchamp :  consequently,  the 
same  restrictions  must  be  put  upon  him  as  on  Lord  Beau.,  etc., 

I  shall  say  nothing  to  Beauchamp  myself,  lest  he  throw  up 
!his  appointment  in  an  ecclesiastical  pet,  wh.  would  be  only  cut- 
ting his  own  throat,  and  whatever  may  be  his  faults  of  manner 
and  temper,  he  is  a  thorough  good  fellow,  as,  I  believe,  we  both 

But  I  wish  you  would  consider  all  this,  and  give  me  your 
advice.  You  might  perhaps  say  things  as  a  friend  to  him,  wh. 
might  be  harder  to  bear  from  an  official  chief.  I  think  with 
tact,  and  a  thorough  understanding  between  you  and  myself,  the 
ship  may  be  steered  thro'  all  these  Church  and  religious  sand- 
banks and  shallows,  but  I  see  that  vigilance  is  requisite.  Greater 
trials  will  arise  than  the  appointment  of  a  Lord  Steward  or  a 
Lord  Chamberlain. 

From  Lord  Salisbury. 

Confidential.  20,  ARLINGTON  STREET,  S.  W.,  Feb.  22,  '74. — 
I  will  speak,  if  you  think  it  desirable,  to  both  Bath  and  Beau- 
champ  on  this  point.  I  am  sure  they  will  feel  it  a  matter  of 
duty  not  to  put  themselves  forward  in  Church  matters  in  a  sense 
disapproved  of  by  the  Queen,  so  long  as  they  are  so  closely  con- 
nected with  her  immediate  service.  The  argument  —  if  I  may 
venture  to  suggest  it  —  which  will  weigh  with  her  most  strongly, 
I  believe,  against  too  decided  measures,  is  that  this  Ritualist 
party,  though  not  preponderant  in  numbers,  is  numerous  enough, 

294  POWER  [CHAP,  vra 

if  it  goes  against  the  Establishment,  to  turn  the  scale.  It  is 
earnest,  to  fanaticism :  it  sits  loosely  to  the  Establishment,  as 
matters  stand:  and  if  driven  by  any  act  of  serious  aggression, 
will  listen  to  its  most  reckless  advisers  and  throw  itself  on  the 
Free  Church  side.  A  disruption  in  England  will  not  perhaps 
take  place  for  so  light  a  matter  as  that  which  took  place  in 
Scotland.  But,  if  it  does  take  place,  it  will  bring  the  whole 
fabric  of  the  Church  down  about  our  ears. 

Of  course  this  applies  to  graver  matters  than  Household  places. 
Mere  discountenance  will  do  little  harm:  but  I  should  look  with 
the'  gravest  alarm  to  any  action  on  the  part  of  the  Legislature. 
The  Bishops  are  at  some  work  which  may  be  dangerous  —  moved 
by  Ellicott,1  who  is  an  unsafe  guide.  I  hope  in  such  matters 
you  will  take  counsel  with  the  Bishops  whom  you  and  Lord 
Derby  placed  upon  the  Bench.  They  are  all  I  think  sound  men. 

Salisbury's  advice  was  in  the  main  judicious,  and  for  the 
moment  Disraeli  was  apparently  disposed  to  accept  it,  as 
he  passed  it  on  to  his  royal  mistress,  to  whom  it  was  ex- 
tremely unpalatable. 

To  Queen  Victoria. 

2,  WHITEHALL  GARDENS,  Feb.  23,  1874. —  Mr.  Disraeli  with  his 
humble  duty  to  your  Majesty: 

Your  Majesty  may  rest  assured,  that  your  Ministry  will  do 
everything  in  their  power  to  discountenance  the  Ritualist  party. 
Much  may  be  done  in  that  way,  particularly  if  done  by  a  Min- 
istry that  is  believed  to  be  permanent.  Any  aggressive  act  of  a 
legislative  character  will  only  make  martyrs  and  probably  play 
the  game  of  the  more  violent  members  of  the  party.  .  .  . 

Feb.  28. — .  .  .  Your  Majesty's  Household  is  now  complete  and 
need  not  fear  competition  with  the  Royal  Household  formed  by 
any  Ministry,  either  in  your  Majesty's  happy  reign,  or  in  those 
of  your  royal  predecessors. 

Mr.  Disraeli  thinks  it  of  importance,  that  the  high  nobility 
should  be  encouraged  to  cluster  round  the  throne. 

1  To  change  back  the  oligarchy  into  a  generous  aristocracy 
round  a  real  throne '  had  been  one  of  the  aims  of  '  Young 
England ' ;  and  Disraeli  no  doubt  felt  he  was  fulfilling  at 
least  part  of  his  earlier  aspirations  when  he  placed  round 
the  person  of  his  Sovereign  the  heads  of  the  houses  of  Cecil 

i  Bishop  of  Gloucester  and  Bristol. 


(elder  branch),  Seymour  (younger  branch),  Bridgeman, 
and  Lygon,  the  heir  of  the  Percies,  a  Wellesley,  and  a  Som- 
erset; while  in  the  Cabinet  and  in  important  positions  out- 
side there  were  the  representatives  of  the  Stanleys,  Ham- 
iltons,  Lennoxes,  Herberts,  and  Cecils  (younger  branch), 
besides  a  Manners,  a  Lowther,  a  Bentinck,  and  a  Bourke; 
the  house  of  Churchill  failing  to  be  represented  only  be- 
cause its  head  had  declined  for  family  reasons  the  Lord- 
Lieutenancy  of  Ireland. 

Hardy  describes  Disraeli  during  the  process  of  Ministry- 
making  as  '  in  a  whirl,  much  excited  and  tired  of  all  his 
disagreeable  duty.'  But  though  the  business  tired  him, 
and  drove  him  at  its  close  to  Brighton  to  recruit  his  strength, 
there  can  be  no  doubt  that  he  took  a  keen  and  justifiable 
pleasure  in  his  first  uncontrolled  exercise  of  the  patronage 
of  the  Crown,  and  especially  in  the  opportunity  it  gave  him 
of  finding  suitable  positions  for  those  of  his  friends  whom 
he  knew  to  be  competent.  We  get  an  insight  into  his  feel- 
ings from  his  letters  to  Lady  Bradford. 

To  Lady  Bradford. 

2,  WHITEHALL  GARDENS,  S.  W.,  Feb.  27,  1874.—  What  with  the 
drawing-room  yesterday  and  a  crowd  of  interviews  afterwards 
in  Downing  St.,  and  endless  letters,  I  could  not  find  time  to 
write  the  only  lines  which  really  interested  me  —  to  her,  who 
is  rarely  absent  from  my  thoughts  and  never  from  my  heart. 

It  has  been  an  awful  affair  altogether,  but  it  is  now  done, 
and  on  Monday  next  there  will  be  a  Council  at  Windsor,  when 
we  shall  appoint  the  Lord  Lieut  [enan]t  of  Ireland,  and  swear 
in,  and  sanction,  all  the  remaining  members  of  the  Govt.  The 
Queen  did  not  settle  about  the  Chamberlainship  till  midnight 
on  Wednesday.  I  had  retired  when  the  box  arrived,  but  was 
roused  at  6  o'ck.  a.m.  with  the  news  of  the  capture  of  Coomassie,1 
which  I  sent  on  to  H.M.  immediately  with  three  dashes  under  the 
word  '  Important '  on  the  label.  She  had  been  very  low  the 
night  before  about  the  first  news. 

The  Government  is  a  very  strong  Government,  and  gives  much 
satisfaction.  I  have  contrived,  in  the  minor  and  working  places, 
to  include  every  '  representative '  man,  that  is  to  say  every  one 

i  The  Ashantee  capital. 

296  POWEE  [CHAP,  vra 

who  might  be  troublesome.  Clare  Read  and  Sir  Massey  Lopes 
have  enchanted  the  farmers,  and  I  have  placed  Selwin  Ibbetson, 
Jem  Lowther,  Cavendish  Bentinck,  and  all  those  sort  of  men  who 
would  have  made  a  Tory  cave.  There  are  some  terrible  disap- 
pointments, but  I  have  written  soothing  letters,  which  on  the 
whole  have  not  been  without  success. 

I  am  not  very  well.  I  rather  broke  down  yesterday,  having 
had  some  warnings,  but  I  can  keep  quiet  now  till  Monday.  .  .  . 

Montagu  [Corry]  is  with  me  here  as  much  as  he  can,  but,  be- 
tween dead  and  living  sisters,  not  as  much  as  I  wish.  Since  you 
left  town,  I  have  never  dined  out.  There  is  plenty  to  occupy 
me  in  the  evening,  for  my  table  is  covered  with  despatch  boxes, 
all  of  which  must  be  attended  to.  In  ordinary  affairs,  these 
can  be  managed,  even  with  a  Ho.  of  Commons,  but  there  is  noth- 
ing so  exhausting  as  the  management  of  men  —  my  present  life 
—  except  perhaps  the  management  of  women;  and  I  make  little 
progress  at  night.  / 

I  shall  always  consider  it  most  unfortunate,  I  would  almost 
say  unkind,  that  you  quitted  town  at  this  conjuncture  —  the 
greatest  of  my  life.  I  do  not  think  I  could  have  deserted  you; 
but  I  will  only  say,  Adieu. 

March  1. —  The  Queen  is  delighted  with  the  Household  ap- 
pointments in  the  Commons;  Ld.  Percy,  Treasurer;  Ld.  Henry 
Somerset,  Comptroller;  Barrington,  V.-Chamberlain.  She  says 
I  '  rejoice '  they  have  accepted  these  posts.  .  .  . 

I  am  a  prisoner  to-day,  but  I  hope  I  shall  be  all  right  to- 
morrow and  get  to  Windsor:  then  my  indisposition  will  not 
transpire.  I  have  had  a  great  many  visitors  to-day,  among  them 
the  Master  of  the  Horse. 

I  have  been  writing  consolation  letters  all  the  morning  — 
among  them  to  Cochrane.1 

I  should  not  be  surprised  were  the  Und.  Secy,  of  War  to  be  — 
the  Earl  of  Pembroke!  2  but  this  is  a  real  secret,  known  only 
to  me,  himself,  and  you. 

Tuesday  night  [March  3]. — .  .  .  I  am  not  as  well  as  I  could 
wish  to  be.  The  truth  is  forming  a  Government  is  a  very  severe 
trial,  moral  and  material.  I  have  never,  until  to-day,  had  air 
or  exercise,  tho'  I  have  had  to  make  five  journeys  to  Windsor. 

I  was  thinking  of  getting  to  Brighton  for  a  couple  of  days 
after  the  Cabinet  to-morrow,  but  I  shall  come  up  if  I  hear  of 
your  arrival. 

1  The  first  Lord  Lamington. 

2  Son  of  Disraeli's  old  opponent,  Sidney  Herbert.     The  appointment 
was  made. 

1874]          PRINCE  OF  WALES  AND  DISRAELI  297 

The  P.  of  Wales  has  written  me  a  most  affectionate  letter  from  sfj 
St.  Petersburg ;  he  was  so  touched  by  my  note  telling  him  that  I ' 
the  Queen  had  sent  for  me!  You  know  all  about  that.  .  .  . 

The  Countess  of  Cardigan  and  Lancastre  called  here  the  other 
day,  and  has  since  written  —  a  wondrous  letter !  These  are  some 
of  the  things  that  have  happened  to  D. 

BEDFORD  HOT  [EL],  BRIGHTON,  March  8. — .  .  .  How  very  un- 
lucky I  should  have  left  town  —  but  for  the  first  time  in  this 
great  affair  I  felt  dead  beat;  always,  almost,  in  the  same  room, 
unceasing  correspondence  or  endless  interviews.  But  to  have 
seen  you  would  have  been  a  much  better  and  more  beneficial 
change,  than  even  these  soft  breezes  and  azure  waters.  .  .  . 

H.R.H.  paid  me  a  visit  on  Friday  morning,  before  noon  —  a  I 
very  long  one;  and  he  asked  me  to  dine  with  him  en  petite  [stc]  1 
comite  on  Sunday.     I  was  obliged  to  decline  and  gave  him  the 
reason.  .  .  . 

If  affairs  were  not  at  this  moment  so  pressing  —  the  Queen's 
Speech  to  prepare,  and  frequent  Cabinets,  I  should  come  down 
to  Bournemouth.  I  cannot  do  that,  tho'  my  thoughts  will  be 
ever  there.  .  .  . 

To  Anne  Lady  Chesterfield. 

WHITEHALL  .  GARDENS,  Mar.  16,  1874. —  I  was  interrupted  while 
writing  to  you  late  yesterday,  by  the  unexpected  call  of  the  Due 
d'Aumale.  .  .  .  Next  to  Lord  Orford,  the  Due  d'Aumale  is  my 
greatest  friend  —  I  dedicated  Lothair  to  him.  I  do  not  know 
his  equal.  Such  natural  ability,  such  extreme  accomplishment, 
and  so  truly  princely  a  mind  and  bearing.  Between  the  Comte 
de  Chambord  and  the  Comte  de  Paris,  he  has  been  '  sat  upon ' 
in  life,  and  has  had  no  opportunity.  He  looks  extremely  well 
and  says  he  is,  '  tho','  he  added  with  much  melancholy,  '  I  am 
now  alone  in  the  world.'  .  .  . 

Corry,  of  course,  resumed  his  position  of  principal  pri- 
vate secretary  to  the  new  Prime  Minister  —  with  two  Treas^ 
ury  clerks  to  assist  him:  Algernon  Tumor,  afterwards 
Financial  Secretary  to  the  Post  Office,  and  James  Daly, 
who  succeeded  later  to  the  peerage  of  Dunsandle.  There 
was  no  suitable  place  on  Disraeli's  staff  for  Rose,  who  was 
intimately  associated  with  his  private  fortunes;  and  who 
had  long  been  in  the  closest  touch  with  his  political  career, 
until  the  work  of  agent  to  the  Conservative  party  outgrew 
the  capacities  of  a  busy  firm  of  solicitors.  But  Disraeli 

298  POWER  [CHAP,  vra 

was  never  ungrateful;  and  one  of  his  earliest  recommenda- 
tions for  honours  was  that  of  Rose  for  a  baronetcy. 

Philip  Rose* to  Montagu  Carry. 

Feb.  21,  1874. —  What  a  pleasure  it  is  to  see  D.  so  really  great! 
You  can  understand  some  of  my  feelings  at  witnessing  the  com- 
plete realisation  of  my  early  predictions,  attributed  at  that  time 
to  boyish  enthusiasm,  but  which  only  strengthened  as  time  went 
on,  and  which  I  have  never  let  go  even  in  the  darkest  times. 
You  will  not  wonder  that  at  times  it  cost  me  a  pang  at  being 
shut  out  from  all  share  in  those  triumphs  of  political  life  with 
which  at  one  time  I  was  actively  associated,  and  for  the  main 
object  of  which  I  have  toiled  and  striven  for  30  years,  and  with 
which  my  life  has  been  identified;  but  in  the  lottery  of  life  some 
are  destined  to  climb  the  ladder,  and  others  to  remain  obscure. 

To  Queen  Victoria. 

10,  DOWNING  STREET,  April  17,  1874. — .  .  .  Mr.  Philip  Rose  is 
the  son  of  a  burgher  family  of  Bucks,  which  has  existed  in  repute 
for  more  than  two  centuries.  Mr.  Rose  is  now  the  possessor  of 
a  fine  estate  in  that  county,  of  which  he  is  a  magistrate.  He 
is  a  man  of  education,  but  entirely  the  creator  of  his  own  for- 
tune. His  life  has  been  one  of  singular  prosperity;  mainly 
owing  to  his  combined  energy  and  integrity,  and  to  a  brilliant 
quickness  of  perception. 

Disraeli,  from  first  to  last,  regarded  his  life  as  a  brightly 
tinted  romance,  with  himself  as  hero.  Now  the  third 
volume  1  had  been  opened.  By  genius  and  resolution,  in 
spite  of  a  thousand  obstacles,  the  f  Jew  boy,'  the  despised 
adventurer,  the  Oriental  mystery-man,  had  reached  the  sum- 
mit of  place  and  power.  Not  only  was  he  once  again  the 
First  Minister  of  what  Englishmen  may  be  forgiven  for 
thinking  the  leading  nation  in  the  modern  world,  but  his 
countrymen  had  unmistakably  expressed  their  desire  to  be 
governed  by  him ;  he  was  supported  by  a  large  majority  in 
both  Houses  of  Parliament,  all  signs  of  disaffection  in  the 
party  to  his  leadership  having  disappeared.  He  was  sur- 

i  The  present  generation  may  need  to  be  reminded  that,  in  mid- 
Victorian  days,  novels  —  and  Disraeli's  among  them  —  were  wont  to 
appear  in  three  volumes. 

From  a  portrait  b\i  Fan  Havermant  at  Hwjhenden. 

1874]     TRIUMPH  OF  ROMANCE  —  AND  TRAGEDY      299 

rounded  by  a  capable  and  unusually  homogeneous  band  of 
colleagues.  He  was  regarded  with  peculiar  favour  by  his 
Sovereign ;  and  he  rapidly  came  to  hold  in  society,  strictly 
so  called,  a  place  of  distinction  such  as  few  Prime  Ministers 
have  aspired  to  and  fewer  attained. 

It  was  a  triumph  of  romance,  but  it  was  also  a  tragedy. 
The  hero  had  all  that  he  had  played  for;  but  fruition  had 
been  delayed  till  he  was  in  his  seventieth  year  and  had 
lost  the  partner  of  his  life  and  of  his  ambition.  Even  on 
his  first  attainment  of  the  Premiership  in  1868,  he  had 
said  to  W.  F.  Haydon  in  reply  to  congratulations,  '  For  me 
it  is  twenty  years  too  late.  Give  me  your  age  and  your 
health.'  How  much  more  fervently  did  he  echo  that  cry  of 
{  Too  late '  to  those  who  congratulated  him  six  years  after- 
wards !  '  Power ! '  he  was  heard  once  to  mutter  in  his 
triumphal  year  of  1878 ;  '  it  has  come  to  me  too  late.  There 
were  days  when,  on  waking,  I  felt  I  could  move  dynasties 
and  governments;  but  that  has  passed  away.'  That  youth 
was  the  period  for  action ;  that  to  be  granted  adequate  scope 
for  your  genius  when  young  was  the  supreme  gift  of  Heaven, 
had  always  been  his  creed.  Now,  however  much  he  might 
call  in  art  to  assist  nature,  he  was  indubitably  becoming  old ; 
though  he  might  still  be  fresh  in  spirit,  he  was  not  physically 
comparable  to  Palmerston  when  he  reached  the  Premier- 
ship at  a  similar  age  in  1855,  or  to  Gladstone  when  he  took 
up  the  burden  a  second  time  at  the  age  of  seventy  in  1880. 
Tough  as  Disraeli's  fibre  had  proved  through  the  struggles 
of  nearly  fifty  years,  he  had  never  been  really  robust,  and 
indeed  in  early  manhood  had  undergone  a  prolonged  period 
of  grave  debility.  His  intimate  notes  to  his  wife  from  the 
House  of  Commons  form  a  constant  record  of  indisposition, 
and  of  requests  for  pills  and  other  remedies  or  prophylactics. 
Then  in  1867  he  had  had  a  serious  attack  of  gout,  and  he 
had  suffered  intermittently  since,  notably  from  bronchial 
trouble  in  1870.  The  labours  of  the  Premiership  in  the 
Commons  almost  immediately  brought  on  renewed  attacks; 
first  in  the  spring  and  then  in  the  autumn  of  1874  he  was 

300  POWER  [CHAP,  vin 

pursued  by  gout,  gouty  bronchitis,  and  asthma ;  and  finally 
in  1876  he  was  driven  to  choose  between  definite  retirement 
and  a  retreat  to  the  House  of  Lords.  Even  the  relief  af- 
forded by  the  conduct  of  business  in  the  less  laborious  House, 
though  great,  was  not  sufficient ;  and  the  unwearied  service 
which  he  rendered  to  his  country  was  accompanied  by  a 
persistent  undercurrent  of  pain  and  physical  debility,  down 
to  his  last  illness  in  1881. 

•Without  the  stimulus  given  not  merely  by  his  honourable 
ambition  but  by  the  intimate  and  endearing  relations  which 
he  had  established  with  Lady  Bradford  and  Lady  Chester- 
field, he  could  hardly  have  borne  the  principal  burden  of 
government  during  years  of  difficulty  and  danger.  But 
even  the  intimacy  with  his  new  friends  could  not  dull  the 
sense  of  loneliness  and  desolation  caused  by  the  absence  of 
the  wife  to  whom,  as  Hardy  noted  in  his  diary,  the  '  long 
reign '  of  1874-1880  would  have  been  a  *  true  joy.'  Had 
Lady  Chesterfield  accepted  him,  or  had  it  been  possible  for 
him  to  marry  Lady  Bradford,  the  vacancy  by  his  hearth, 
which  so  keenly  affected  him,  would  have  been  filled.  But, 
as  things  were,  he  experienced  only  too  vividly  through  all 
his  last  eight  years  that  melancholy  which  prompted  the 
bitter  cry  of  his  friend  the  Due  d'Aumale,  '  I  am  now  alone 
in  the  world.'  Sir  William  Eraser's  fussy  obtrusiveness  and 
misplaced  egotism  often  mar  the  effect  of  his  Disraelian 
stories;  but  he  was  inspired  by  a  true  discernment  in  the 
message  which  he  sent  to  his  chief  in  the  beginning  of  the 
1874  Administration. 

The  only  communication  which  I  made  to  Disraeli  at  the 
time  of  his  last  Premiership  was  one  which  I  was  told  he  felt 
deeply.  I  asked  a  common  friend  to  tell  him  that  I  was  sure 
that  the  feeling  in  his  heart  which  dominated  all  others  was, 
that  one  who  had  believed  in  him  from  the  first,  whose  whole 
life  and  soul  had  been  devoted  to  him,  who  had  longed  and 
prayed  for  his  ultimate  success,  was,  now  that  his  success  had 
come,  no  more  —  his  wife.1 

i  Fraser,  pp.  270,  271. 

1 1  am  only  truly  great  in  action.  If  ever  I  am  placed 
in  a  truly  eminent  position  I  shall  prove  this.'  So  in  a 
moment  of  exaltation  wrote  Disraeli  in  his  thirtieth  year; 
now,  in  his  seventieth,  at  long  last,  he  was  to  show  that  he 
had  not  misjudged  his  own  capacity.  Social  improvement 
at  home  and  the  enhancement  and  consolidation  of  our 
imperial  position  abroad  were  to  be  the  task  of  the  Min- 
istry under  his  guidance;  but  in  both  respects  Ministers 
proceeded  with  caution  and  deliberation,  with  the  unex- 
pected result  that  the  interest  of  their  first  session  was  pre- 
dominantly ecclesiastical.  On  the  domestic  side,  in  com- 
pliance with  the  general  desire  for  a  respite  from  incessant 
legislation,  they  determined  to  do  no  more  than  lay  this 
year  a  foundation  for  their  policy.  They  appointed  a 
Royal  Commission  to  investigate  the  subject  of  the  relations 
of  master  and  servant;  and  proposed  to  deal  at  once  with 
only  a  few  minor  matters,  including  an  amendment  of  the 
Factory  Act  and  certain  modifications  of  the  new  licensing 
law.  On  the  imperial  side,  in  order  to  show  that  the  new 
Government  hoped  to  infuse  some  spirit  and  dignity  into 
foreign  policy,  Disraeli  suggested  to  Derby  the  introduction 
into  the  Queen's  Speech  of  '  a  phrase  which,  without  alarm- 
ing, might  a  little  mark  out  our  policy  from  our  unpopular 
predecessors'.'  The  phrase  actually  used  was :  '  I  shall 
not  fail  to  exercise  the  influence  arising  from  these  cordial 
relations  [with  foreign  Powers]  for  the  maintenance  of 
European  peace,  and  the  faithful  observance  of  interna- 
tional obligations.' 



To  Queen  Victoria. 

10,  DOWNING  STREET,  March  14,  1874. —  Mr.  Disraeli  with  his 
humble  duty  to  your  Majesty: 

He  encloses  a  draft  of  the  Royal  Speech  for  your  Majesty's 

Your  Majesty  will  observe,  that  he  has  somewhat  deviated 
from  the  routine  paragraph  respecting  foreign  affairs.  He 
thought  the  accession  to  office  of  a  new  Ministry  was  not  a 
bad  occasion  to  call  the  attention  of  Europe  to  that  respect  for 
treaties  which  your  Majesty's  present  advisers,  with  your  ap- 
probation, are  resolved  to  observe. 

In  case  news  of  the  treaty  being  signed  do  not  arrive,  the 
paragraph  respecting  the  Ashantee  War  will  require  modification. 

Parliament  will  open  on  Thursday  the  19th.  Whether  your 
Majesty  will  be  graciously  pleased  to  open  it,  shall  be  a  matter, 
always,  for  your  Majesty  alone  to  decide. 

Mr.  Disraeli  has  too  high,  and  genuine,  an  opinion  of  your 
Majesty's  judgment,  and  too  sincere  an  appreciation  of  your 
Majesty's  vast  political  experience,  to  doubt  that,  whatever  your 
Majesty's  decision  on  this  important  subject,  it  will  be  a  correct 
one.  He  will  not,  therefore,  presume  to  dwell  [on],  only  to 
glance  at,  the  peculiar  circumstances  of  the  present  occasion: 
a  new  Parliament;  a  ballot  Parliament;  a  new  Ministry;  a 
Ministry  recommended  to  your  Majesty  by  an  extraordinary  ex- 
pression of  Conservative  opinion;  the  great  and  deep  popularity 
of  the  Royal  House  at  the  present  moment,  and  the  especial, 
and  even  affectionate,  reverence  for  your  Majesty's  person;  the 
presence  of  illustrious  strangers,  at  this  moment,  at  your  Majes- 
ty's Court,  and  the  most  interesting  cause  of  that  presence1 — 
all  these  considerations,  Mr.  Disraeli  feels  sure,  will  be  duly 
weighed  by  your  Majesty,  and  decided  upon  with  dignified  dis- 

Disraeli's  insinuating  pleading  did  not  prevail  to  secure 
the  Queen's  presence  at  the  opening  of  Parliament;  and 
accordingly  there  was  nothing  dramatic  about  the  first  public 
appearance  of  his  Ministry.  He  had  the  wisdom  and 
magnanimity  to  suggest  the  re-election  of  the  Liberal 
Speaker  chosen  towards  the  close  of  the  last  Parliament, 
Henry  Brand.  The  depression  of  the  beaten  Liberals  was 
augmented  by  Gladstone's  announcement  that  he  only  pro- 

1  The  recent  marriage  of  the  Duke  of  Edinburgh  to  a  daughter  of 
the  Emperor  of  Russia. 


posed  to  attend  occasionally  during  the  present  session,  and 
reserved  to  himself  the  right  to  resign  absolutely  the  leader- 
ship of  the  Opposition  in  the  following  spring.  It  was, 
Disraeli  said  on  one  of  the  occasions  when  he  met  his  rival 
on  the  neutral  ground  of  Marlborough  House,  '  the  wrath, 
the  unappeasable  wrath,  of  Achilles.' 

To  Anne  Lady  Chesterfield. 

WHITEHALL,  March  17,  1874. — .  .  .  Yesterday  we  had  a  grand 
banquet  at  Marlboro'  House,  which  was  agreeable  enough.  I 
had  not  very  lively  neighbours  at  dinner.  .  .  .  However,  I  do 
not  dislike  what  Macaulay  called  some  '  flashes  of  silence,'  and 
unless  I  sit  next  to  you,  or  somebody  as  interesting  and  charm- 
ing, I  find  a  pleasant  repose  in  a  silent  banquet,  particularly 
with  a  good  band. 

After  dinner  we  had  conversation  enough,  and  I  could  amuse 
you  for  hours,  if  we  were  walking  together  alone  at  Bretby,  but 
alas!  the  pressure  of  business,  wh.  is  now  getting  intense,  can 
only  spare  time  for  a  snatch. 

The  Dss.  of  Edinburgh  was  lively  as  a  bird.  She  does  not 
like  our  habit  in  England  of  all  standing  after  dinner,  and  I 
must  say  I  find  it  exhausting.  In  Russia  the  Court  all  sit. 

She  asked  me  who  a  certain  person  was,  talking  to  a  lady. 
I  replied,  '  That  is  my  rival.'  '  What  a  strange  state  society  is 
in  here,'  she  said.  '  Wherever  I  go,  there  is  a  double.  Two 
Prime  Ministers,  two  Secretaries  of  State,  two  Lord  Chamber- 
lains, and  two  Lord  Chancellors.'  .  .  . 

To  Lady  Bradford. 

WHITEHALL,  March  19,  1874. — .  .  .  I  had  a  very  hard  day 
yesterday.  A  great  personage,1  a  favourite  of  yours  and  of 
mine,  was  with  me  all  the  morning  at  this  house  with  difficult 
and  delicate  affairs;  then  without  luncheon,  I  had  to  run  to 
D[owning]  S[treet]  to  keep  my  appointments  with  the  mover 
and  seconder  of  the  Address,  each  of  whom  I  had  to  see  sepa- 
rately; then  a  long  Cabinet,  and  then  the  banquets!  Mine  was 
most  successful,  and  I  believe  also  Derby's.  Everybody  said  tbey 
never  saw  a  more  brilliant  table.  I  gave  Gunter  carte  blanche, 
and  he  deserved  it.  He  had  a  new  service  of  plate.  Baroness 
Rothschild  sent  me  six  large  baskets  of  English  strawberries,  200 
head  of  gigantic  Parisian  asperge,  and  the  largest  Strasburg  foie 

i  The  Prince  of  Wales. 


gras  that  ever  was  seen.     All  agreed  that  the  change  of  nation- 
ality had  not  deprived  Alsace  of  its  skill.  .  .  . 

To-day  I  am  to  take  my  seat  at  four  o'ck.,  introduced  by . 
Cis  l  and  Mr.  Henley.  .  .  . 

*  Things  went  off  very  quietly  in  the  House/  was  Dis- 
raeli's description  of  the  opening  day  to  Lady  Bradford. 
'  Gladstone  made  a  queer  dispiriting  speech,  and,  in  short, 
told  his  party  that  the  country  had  decided  against  them, 
and  that  they  were  thoroughly  beaten.'  The  one  urgent 
topic  was  the  famine  in  India;  and  the  vigorous  measures 
which,  in  spite  of  Anglo-Indian  opposition,  the  Liberal 
Viceroy,  Northbrook,  was  taking  to  cope  with  it  received 
warm  support  from  Salisbury  and  the  new  Government. 
The  occasion  gave  Lord  George  Hamilton  an  opportunity  to 
show  that  Disraeli  had  not  been  mistaken  in  singling  him 
out  for  responsible  office.  '  This  is  a  triumph  for  me,'  he 
wrote  to  Lady  Bradford.2 

To  Queen  Victoria. 

HOUSE  OF  COMMONS,  March  20,  1874. —  Mr.  Disraeli  with  his 
humble  duty  to  your  Majesty:  .  .  . 

Mr.  Disraeli  was  very  inadvertent  in  not  reporting  the  pro- 
ceedings of  the  House  of  Commons  last  night  to  your  Majesty. 
He  will  to-night  ab  initio,  so  that  your  Majesty's  record  of  the 
new  Parliament  shall  be  complete. 

He  is  now  writing  hurriedly  in  his  place,  in  the  midst  of  busi- 
ness and  not  wishing  to  keep  the  Windsor  messenger. 

10,  DOWNING  STREET,  March  20,  1874. — .  .  .  An  interesting 
evening  in  the  House  of  Commons.  The  Home  Rule  debate 
was  actively,  but  not  forcibly,  sustained  by  the  Irish  members. 
Mr.  Gladstone  spoke  early  in  the  debate,  and  well.  Sir  Michael 
Beach  with  great  force  and  success. 

The  night  was  favourable  to  the  young  Ministers.  Lord 
George  Hamilton  greatly  distinguished  himself  in  his  Indian 
statement.  Both  sides  of  the  House  were  delighted  with  him: 

1  General  Forester,  Lady  Bradford's  brother,  who  shortly  afterwards 
succeeded  as  3rd  Lord  Forester,  was  in  March,   1874,  Father  of  the 
House  of  Commons. 

2  Lord  George,  in  his  interesting  Parliamentary  Reminiscences,  has 
given  in  full  the  flattering  description  of  his  speech  in  the  letter  to 
Lady  Bradford. 

1874]  SIR  GARNET  WOLSELEY  305 

with  his  thorough  knowledge  of  his  subject;  his  fine  voice;  his 
calmness,  dignity,  and  grace.  He  spoke  for  exactly  an  hour. 
Mr.  Disraeli  has  rarely  witnessed  so  great  a  success  —  and,  what 
is  better,  a  promise  of  greater. 

There  were  only  ten  days  of  the  Parliamentary  session 
before  the  Easter  recess ;  and  the  new  Minister  had  a  vast 
amount  of  work  and  of  society  to  pack  into  his  early  days 
of  power. 

To  Anne  Lady  Chesterfield. 

WHITEHALL,  March  24,  1874. — .  .  .  Yesterday  was  a  galloping 
day.  .  . 

I  had  to  see  Sir  Garnet  Wolseley1  at  one,  and  find  out  what 
he  expected,  or  wished,  as  a  reward :  not  a  very  easy  or  pleasing 
task.  It  often  happens,  in  such  cases,  that  Governments  put 
themselves  much  out  of  the  way  to  devise  fitting  recognition  of 
merit,  and  then  find  they  have  decided  on  exactly  the  very  thing 
that  was  not  wanted. 

Then  I  had  a  great  deputation  in  D.S.  at  Vfe  past  2  o'ck. ;  then 
the  Ho.  of  Comm.  at  */£  past  four,  and  then,  keeping  my 
brougham  ready,  I  managed  to  steal  away  to  Belgrave  Sqre.  at  */2 
past  6,  and  see  somebody  I  love  as  much  as  I  do  yourself. 
Then  I  had  to  get  home  to  dress  for  one  of  the  great  wedding 
banqiiets ;  at  Gloster  House :  all  the  royalties  there  —  Marl- 
boro' House,  Clarence  House,  and  Kensington  Palace;  and  a 
host  of  Abercorns,  Ailesburys,  Baths,  Barringtons,  etc.,  etc., 
not  forgetting  the  hero  of  the  hour,  Sir  Garnet  again. 

He  is  a  little  man,  but  with  a  good  presence,  and  a  bright 
blue  eye,  holds  his  head  well,  and  has  a  lithe  figure:  he  is  only 
40 ;  so  has  a  great  career  before  him.  .  .  . 

I  am  very  well,  altho'  the  work  is  increasing  and  it  seems  a 
dream.  I  told  somebody  that  I  was  well  because  I  was  happy, 
and  she  said  '  Of  course  you  are,  because  you  have  got  all  you 

But  I  assure  you,  as  I  assured  her,  it  is  not  that.  I  am 
happy  in  yr.  friendship  and  your  sister's.  They  are  the  charm 
and  consolation  of  a  life  that  would  otherwise  be  lonely.  You 
are  always  something  to  think  about;  something  that  soothes 
and  enlivens  amid  vexation  and  care.  .  .  . 

5  o'ck.  March  29. — .  .  .  We  have  had  a  busy  week,  social  and 
otherwise:  a  drawing-room  and  a  levee.  Selina  presented  her 

i  Who  had  commanded  the  Ashantee  expedition  and  taken  Coomas- 
sie;  afterwards  F.  M.  Viscount  Wolseley. 


daughter,  Lady  Mabel,1  as  you  know.  Selina  was  in  mourning, 
but  it  particularly  becomes  her,  and,  in  my  opinion,  she  was 
much  the  most  distinguished  person  at  the  Palace.  I  dined  in 
Belgrave  Sqre.  aft[erwar]ds  and  met  the  Baths,  and  one  or 
two  agreeable  people:  a  little  round  table;  not  more  than  the 
Muses  and  not  less  than  the  Graces.  .  .  . 

10,  DOWNING  St.,  March  31. —  I  have  just  adjourned  the  Ho. 
of  Commons  for  a  fortnight.  I  begin  to  feel  the  reality  of 
power.  .  .  . 

To  Lady  Bradford. 

10,  DOWNING  STREET,  March  31. — .  .  .  I  spoke  last  night 2 
quite  to  my  own  satisfaction,  which  I  rarely  do,  but  did  not 
produce  any  great  effect  on  the  House,  which  expected  some- 
thing of  a  more  inflammatory  kind  in  all  probability.  I  gave 
them  something  Attic.  Your  friend  The  Times  again  assailed 
me,  wh.  I  disregard  and  shd.  not  notice  if  you  did  not.  .  .  . 

Disraeli  spent  the  Easter  recess  at  Bretby.  Two  sen- 
tences, one  from  a  letter  to  Corry,  and  the  other  from  a  letter 
to  Lady  Bradford,  give  us  pictures  of  his  afternoon  drives 
and  his  evening  relaxations.  '  We  came  home  in  an  open 
carriage  —  a  break  —  in  pelting  rain ;  but  my  fascinating 
hostess  covered  me  with  her  umbrella,  so  that  I  was  as  com- 
fortable as  in  a  tent,  and  wished  the  storm  to  last.'  '  We 
play  whist  every  evening,  and  I  have  never  once  revoked ; 
more  than  that,  Lady  Ches.  says  I  play  a  "  really  good 

The  immediate  business  before  the  Government  was  the 
Budget  —  a  particularly  crucial  issue,  as  it  was  on  the 
financial  cry  of  abolishing  the  income  tax  that  Gladstone 
had  gone  to  the  country.  From  Bretby,  in  answer  to  an 
appeal  from  Northcote,  who  had  kept  him  fully  informed 
of  the  development  of  his  schemes,  he  wrote  a  decisive  letter. 

To  Sir  Stafford  Northcote. 

BRETBY  PARK,  April  4,  1874. —  If  we  don't  take  care,  we  shall 
make  a  muddle  of  the  Budget.  It  is  indispensable  that  we 
should  take  Id.  off  the  income  tax.  .  .  . 

1  Now  Lady  Mabel  Kenyon-Slaney. 

2  In  moving  the  vote  of  thanks  to  the  General  and  the  troops  for 
the  Ashantee  expedition. 

1874]  THE  BUDGET  307 

I  was  always  in  favour  of  introducing  a  rating  bill,  provided 
we  could  deal  largely  with  local  taxation.  If  you  pass  a  rating 
bill,  relieve  the  ratepayers  from  police  and  lunatics,  and  abolish 
the  Government  exemptions,  I  consider  the  local  taxation  ques- 
tion virtually  settled.  The  rating  bill  would  run  pretty  easily 
with  such  adjuncts.  You  will  have,  by  this  mode,  satisfied  a 
large  party  in  the  House,  and  largely  consisting  of  our  friends. 

The  repeal  of  the  sugar  duties  will  satisfy  the  free  traders  and 
the  democracy. 

The  reduction  of  one  penny  in  the  income  tax  will  be  a 
golden  bridge  for  all  anti-income  tax  men  in  our  own  ranks. 
They  will  grumble,  but  they  will  support  us. 

With  these  three  great  objects  accomplished,  I  think  you  may 
count  on  success. 

If  you  can  do  no  more,  do  it,  but  that  would  not  be  necessary. 
The  repeal  of  the  horse  duty  was  necessary,  when  you  contem- 
plated dealing  so  partially,  and,  comparatively  speaking,  slightly, 
with  the  local  burthens.  Now  it  will  range  itself  if  necessary 
with  the  taxes  on  locomotion,  the  consideration  of  which  may 
keep.  It  seems  to  me,  however,  that  you  might  repeal  the  horse 
duty  in  addition ;  and  I  am  clear  that  you  had  better  not  recede 
in  any  considerable  degree  from  the  original  estimates.  .  .  . 

I  hope  I  have  made  my  views  pretty  clear.  I  send  this  by 
messenger,  as  I  don't  like  the  post  as  a  means  of  conveyance, 
when  the  repeal  of  taxes  is  concerned. 

It  pleased  the  Opposition  to  describe  a  Budget  drawn 
on  these  large  lines  as  frittering  away  the  Liberal  surplus 
of  over  five  millions ;  but  subsequent  history  has  shown  how 
utterly  impracticable  was  Gladstone's  showy  policy  of  com- 
plete abolition  of  the  income  tax.  Had  he  prevailed  for  the 
moment,  the  increasing  demands  of  armaments  on  the  one 
hand,  and  of  social  legislation  on  the  other,  must  have  led 
to  its  reimposition  within  a  very  few  years;  and  it  is 
creditable  to  Disraeli,  that,  though  he  dallied  long  with  the 
hope  of  abolition,  yet  when  he  attained  power  in  1874  he 
declined,  with  the  prospect  of  progressive  expenditure,  to 
abandon  so  powerful  an  engine  of  revenue.  He  was  able, 
in  this  halcyon  period  of  abounding  trade  and  political 
quietude,  to  reduce  the  rate  to  twopence,  to  abolish  the  sugar 
duties  and  the  horse  tax,  and  to  relieve  local  rates  of  the 


burden  of  police  and  lunatics;  boons  which,  save  in  com- 
parison with  total  relief  from  income  tax,  would  have  been 
regarded  as  eminently  praiseworthy,  and  which  were  ac- 
cepted by  Parliament  as  satisfactory. 

Within  a  few  days  of  his  return  from  Bretby  Disraeli 
was  seized  by  the  first  of  a  series  of  attacks  of  gout  which 
crippled  him,  at  intervals,  for  the  remainder  of  the  year. 

To  Anne  Lady  Chesterfield. 

WHITEHALL  GARDENS,  April  16,  1874. — .  .  .  After  five  years' 
truce,  the  gout  attacked  my  left  hand  on  Monday  last.  I  have 
borne  up  against  it  as  well  as  I  could,  for  I  don't  think  the  world 
likes  sick  Ministers,  but  I  am  afraid  it  has  beaten  me.  After 
a  long  Cabinet  yesterday,  I  was  obliged  to  send  my  excuses  to 
the  Speaker,  to  decline  dining  with  him;  and  tho'  I  must  man- 
age to  appear  in  the  H.  of  C.  to-day  for  the  Budget,  I  fear  my 
arm  must  be  in  a  sling.  .  .  . 

WHITEHALL,  April  18. — .  .  .  I  have  seen  my  hand  to-day  for 
the  first  time  for  a  week,  and  tho'  not  exactly  fit  for  a  Lord 
Chamberlain,  it  would  do  for  a  morganatic  marriage,  wh.  is  al- 
ways rather  an  ugly  affair.  .  .  . 

To  Lady  Bradford. 

W[HITEHALL  GARDENS],  April  18,  1874. — .  .  .  The  Budget  is 
very  successful.1  .  .  . 

If  I  can  I  must  go  to  the  Salisbury  banquet  to-day,  but  I 
will  not  decide  till  six  o'ck.  ...  I  was  in  the  House  last  night 
till  midnight,  and  only  left  because  I  was  assured  there  cd.  be 
no  more  divisions.  There  was  one,  however,  and  Mr.  Secy.  Cross 
talked,  I  see,  of  the  Prime  Minister's  absence  on  account  of  the 
state  of  his  health !  !  !  What  language !  .  .  . 

April  19. — .  .  .  It  won't  do  for  me  to  go  down  to  Brighton, 
and  give  up  the  dinners  I  have  accepted,  or  they  wd.  make  out 
I  was  very  ill  and  all  that.  I  have  refused  every  invitation  that 
has  arrived  since  I  returned  to  town.  I  mean  to  fashion  and 
frame  my  life  into  two  divisions :  the  public  life,  wh.  speaks  for 
itself;  and  the  inner,  or  social  life,  wh.,  so  far  as  I  can  arrange, 
shall  be  confined  to  the  society  of  those  I  love  and  those  who 
love  them. 

Life,  at  least  so  much  of  it  as  may  remain  to  me,  is  far  too 

i  In  reporting  to  the  Queen  Disraeli  wrote  that  '  the  Budget  was 
extremely  well  received  by  the  House.  The  speech  was  artistically 
conceived  and  the  interest  skilfully  sustained  till  the  end.' 


valuable  to  '  waste  its  fragrance  on  the  desert  air.'  I  live  for 
Power  and  the  Affections ;  and  one  may  enjoy  both  without  being 
bored  and  wearied  with  all  the  dull  demands  of  conventional  in- 
tercourse. ...  • 

Yesterday  was  one  of  those  cumbrous  banquets  wh.  I  abhor, 
and  wh.  in  my  present  condition  was  oppressive  —  French  Am- 
bassadors, and  Dukes  and  Duchesses  of  Marlboro'  and  Cleve- 
land, and  all  that.  It  did  me  no  harm,  however,  for  I  was  re- 
solved and  firm,  asked  for  seltzer  water,  did  not  pretend  to  drink 
wine,  or  to  eat.  I  had  the  honor  to  sit  by  the  great  lady  of 
the  mansion,  so  long,  and  so  recently,  my  bitter  foe.  She 
feasted  me  with,  sometimes  skilful,  adulation.  If  I  were  not 
really  indifferent  to  it,  wh.  I  think  I  am,  I  certainly  appeared 
to  be  so  yesterday,  for  with  the  depression  of  my  complaint,  and 
the  want  of  all  artificial  stimulus,  I  felt  I  was  singularly  dull 
and  flat.  I  could  scarcely  keep  up  the  battledore;  the  shuttle- 
cock indeed  frequently  fell. 

I  am  told  by  another  great  lady,  that  all  this  homage  is  sin- 
cere. It  is  the  expression  of  '  gratitude ' ;  not  so  much  for  the 
offices  I  have  showered  on  them,1  as  for  the  delicate  manner  in 
which  I  spare  them  the  sense  of  '  humiliation.' 

April  25. — .  .  .  Last  night 2  was  most  amusing.  Gladstone 
stagey,  overdone,  and  full  of  false  feeling  and  false  taste;  trying 
to  assume  the  position  of  Scipio  Africanus,  accused  by  a  country 
which  he  had  saved. 

But,  between  Smollett  and  Whalley,  it  was  a  provincial  Ham- 
let bet[wee]n  clown  and  pantaloon. 

To  Arme  Lady  Chesterfield. 

W.  G.,  May  6. —  Yesterday  was  the  first  party  division  of  the 
session,  and  the  Ministry  won  triumphantly.3  The  battle  came 
off  on  a  different  issue  from  that  which  I  had  apprehended  when 
I  dined  out,  wh.  was  almost  as  rash  as  the  Duke  of  Wellington's 

1  Besides    Lord    Salisbury,    his   brother,    Lord    Eustace    Cecil,    held 
office  in  Disraeli's  Administration;  as  well,  of  course,  as  Lord  Exeter, 
the  head  of  the  elder  branch  of  the  Cecils. 

2  Smollett  (C.)   moved  and  Whalley  (L.)   seconded  an  abortive  vote 
of  censure  on  Gladstone  for  advising  the  recent  dissolution.     On  the 
debate  on  the  Address,  Disraeli  had  generously  said :     '  If  I  had  been 
a  follower  of  a  parliamentary  chief  as  eminent,  even  if  I  thought  he 
had  erred,  I  should  have  been  disposed  rather  to  exhibit  sympathy 
than  to  offer  criticism.     I  should  remember  the  great  victories  which 
he  had  fought  and  won;  I  should  remember  his  illustrious  career;  its 
continuous  success  and  splendour,  not  its  accidental  or  even  disastrous 

s  The  question  at  issue  was  the  educational  standard  to  be  reached 
by  the  children  of  out-door  paupers. 


ball  at  Brussels.     But  I  had  made  all  my  preparations,  tho'  I 
had  contemplated  a  different  point  of  attack. 

The  majority  of  63  may  be  looked  upon  as  our  working  ma- 
jority —  to  be  raised  to  80  on  very  critical  occasions.  Our 
friends  are  in  high  spirits  and  have  quite  forgotten  the  misad- 
venture of  the  other  night.1  Forster,  Lowe,  Goschen,  and  Co. 
looked  dreadfully  crestfallen.  .  .  .  All  the  Home  Rulers  voted 
against  us. 

The  humdrum  course  of  hardly  contentious  Government 
business  was  little  to  the  taste  of  eager  spirits  on  the  Op- 
position benches.  Mr.  (now  Sir  George)  Trevelyan,  ac- 
cordingly, pushed  into  the  foreground  the  question  of  the 
county  franchise.  But  a  newly  elected  Conservative  Par- 
liament could  hardly  be  expected  to  welcome  an  immediate 
prospect  of  further  constitutional  change,  and  Mr.  Tre- 
velyan's  motion  was  decisively  rejected. 

To  Anne  Lady  Chesterfield. 

W.  GARDENS,  May  14,  1874. —  We  had  a  capital  division  on  a 
capital  subject  —  the  extension  of  the  household  franchise  to 
counties.  There  were  rumors  that  the  Liberal  party  was  to  be 
reorganised  on  this  'platform,'  and  amazing  whips  were  made 
by  both  sides.  The  result  surprised  both.  Lord  Hartington 
.  .  .  and  other  Whigs  left  the  House  without  voting;  and  Mr. 
Lowe  actually  voted  with  us!  There  were  five  hundred,  and 
more,  in  the  House  during  the  debate,  and  we  had  a  purely  Con- 
servative majority,  with  the  exception  of  Mr.  Lowe,  of  114!  .  .  . 

Disraeli's  opposition  to  the  motion  was  of  an  opportunist 
character.2  While  pointing  out  that  the  distribution  of 
political  power  in  the  community  was  an  affair  of  conven- 
tion, and  not  of  moral  or  abstract  right,  he  expressly  dis- 
claimed any  objection  in  principle  to  the  enfranchisement 
of  the  county  householder. 

I  have  no  doubt  that  the  rated  householder  in  the  county  is 
just  as  competent  to  exercise  the  franchise  with  advantage  to 

i  When  the  Government  was  beaten  during  the  dinner  hour  on  an 
Irish  question  by  two  votes. 

2 '  The  measure  will  not  be  passed  for  ten  years ;  and  when  ten 
years  are  over  it  will  be  harmless.'  Letter  from  Corry  for  Beacons- 
field  to  C.  S.  Read.  Dec.  27,  1877. 


the  country  as  the  rated  householder  in  the  town.  I  have  not 
the  slightest  doubt  whatever  that  he  possesses  all  those  virtues 
which  generally  characterise  the  British  people.  And  I  have 
as  little  doubt  that,  if  he  possessed  the  franchise,  he  would 
exercise  it  with  the  same  prudence  and  the  same  benefit  to  the 
community  as  the  rated  householder  in  the  town. 

But,  as  the  enfranchisement  would  enormously  increase 
the  county  electors,  causing  them  considerably  to  outnumber 
the  borough  electors,  it  would  be  necessary  to  have  a  great 
redistribution  of  seats  at  the  same  time,  with  the  result  of 
the  erasure  from  the  Parliamentary  map  of  the  important 
class  of  boroughs  of  20,000  or  25,000  inhabitants.  He 
was  not  prepared  to  strike  a  fatal  blow  at  the  borough  con- 
stitution of  the  United  Kingdom.  It  was  an  unwise  thing 
for  an  old  country  to  be  always  speculating  on  organic 
change.  In  that  matter  their  course  of  late  years  had 
been  very  rapid  and  decisive.  He  was  confident  in  the 
good  sense  of  the  people.  But  they  had  had  a  great 
meal  to  digest,  and  he  was  not  sure  that  it  had  as  yet 
been  entirely  assimilated.  The  mind  of  the  agricultural 
class  was  occupied  not  with  political  change,  but  rather  with 
the  elevation  of  their  social  condition.  '  When  the  disposi- 
tion of  the  country  is  favourable,  beyond  any  preceding 
time  that  I  can  recall,  to  a  successful  consideration  of  the 
social  wants  of  the  great  body  of  the  people,  I  think  it  would 
be  most  unwise  to  encourage  this  fever  for  organic  change.'  l 
Here  was  sounded  clearly  the  note  of  social  reform,  which 
honourably  distinguished  all  the  domestic  legislation  of  the 

To  Anne  Lady  Chesterfield. 

2,  WHITEHALL  GARDENS,  May  19,  1874. — .  .  .  Last  night  was 
critical.  Gladstone  reappeared  with  all  his  marshals,  Lowe  and 
Childers  and  Goschen,  and  others  of  the  gang.  They  were  to 
make  an  attack  on  our  Supplementary  Estimates  for  the  navy. 

i  This  was  Disraeli's  last  statement  of  policy  on  Parliamentary 
Reform.  He  had,  it  may  be  added,  when  still  in  opposition,  announced 
his  adhesion  in  principle  to  the  extension  of  the  suffrage  to  women. 


But  a  traitor  had  apprised  me  of  their  purpose,  and  my  benches 
were  full  to  overflowing.  They  dared  not  attack  the  master  of 
100  legions,  and  they  took  refuge  in  a  feeble  reconnaissance  by 
Childers,  who  was  snuffed  out  by  the  Chanr.  of  the  Excr. 

The  elections  continue  to  go  well  for  the  Ministry,  wh.  shows 
that  the  Conservative  reaction  was  not  a  momentary  feeling.  .  .  . 

To  Queen  Victoria. 

2,  WHITEHALL  GARDENS,  May  22,  1874. — .  .  .  To-night,  there 
was  an  amusing  debate  respecting  making  Oxford  a  military 
centre.  Mr.  Hall,  the  new  Conservative  member  for  Oxford 
City,  made  a  maiden  speech  of  considerable  power  and  promise : 
a  fine  voice,  a  natural  manner,  and  much  improvisation.  While 
he  was  sitting  down,  amid  many  cheers,  Lord  Randolph  Churchill 
rose,  and,  though  sitting  on  the  same  side  of  the  House,  upheld 
the  cause  of  the  University  against  the  City,  and  answered  Mr. 

Lord  Randolph  said  many  imprudent  things,  which  is  not  very 
important  in  the  maiden  speech  of  a  young  member  and  a  young 
man; 'but  the  House  was  surprised,  and  then  captivated,  by  his 
energy,  and  natural  flow,  and  his  impressive  manner.  With  self- 
control  and  study,  he  might  mount.  It  was  a  speech  of  great 
promise.  .  .  . 

The  Whitsuntide  recess  was  a  period  of  great  refresh- 
ment to  Disraeli,  as  he  had  the  Bradfords  to  stay  with  him 
at  Hughenden,  the  party  to  meet  them  comprising  Maria 
Lady  Ailesbury,  the  Wharncliffes,  and  Pembroke.  It  was 
1  the  fulness  of  spring,'  he  wrote  to  Lady  Chesterfield,  while 
awaiting  their  arrival :  '  thorns  and  chestnuts  and  lilacs 
and  acacia,  all  in  bloom,  and  the  air  still  and  balmy.  .  .  . 
I  am  as  restless  as  if  I  were  as  young  as  the  spring.'  Un- 
fortunately he  came  back  to  town  with  a  suspicion  of  trouble 
in  his  throat ;  and  the  remedies  given  him  to  restore  his 
voice  brought  out  the  gout  once  more.  '  I  left  the  H.  of  C. 
on  Monday  night  at  10  o'ck.'  he  wrote  to  Lady  Bradford  on 
June  10,  '  all  the  difficulties  about  the  Licensing  Bill  being 
triumphantly  over,  with  the  view  of  going  to  Montagu 
House;  but  when  I  began  to  dress  I  found  I  hobbled,  and 
a  P.  Minister  hobbling  wd.  never  do,  so  I  gave  it  wisely  up.' 
1  The  enemy  has  entirely  overpowered  me,'  he  wrote  in  an- 

a     2 


I   F 


£*    03 

G    t 




-.'-'-,  ATTACK  OF  GOTT  : 

other  note.  '  After  *  night  of  iDMMMmg  an&erug  I  haw 
bent  obliged  to  send  to  Handy  to  fake  the  ran*,  a*  it  is 
phvricafly  hnpoMibk  for  me  to  n*di  tbe  ttx  of  C/ 


</dL,  I  WIN  invaded  by  tbe  Cr,  of  the  Ear,  John  MaMMra,  Bar- 

rington»  with  palf  facca  and  detracted  *ir, 

the  Mnnrtrr  «•  oW  FacfeMj  KB, 
qgfadcd  frMi  ito  jii»HaiMM     la  nWtr  alnw, 

*      _<^  _  _  <    A.  *—  JJ 

I  Mid  that  Midb  *  rapreMBtotioD,  if  it  mete  *  jmt  <MMV 
to  here  ken  made  to  me  longr  «0»»  ***  when  «j  fcej,  W  State 
WM  ncra*  the  2nd  iCMKn*  «f  tint  BilL    2*fly  that  the 
MBtetion  m  wniMt  md  dwmL    H   1  I       nail  Hi  in 

of  Beifaat  from  d«  nutrictionc  on  UKW  placed  on  dw 

of  YoHnhne  would  be  in  fact  CTtammhiaa;  i 
of  Protection  in  faror  of  Ireland, 
My  friend*  were  much  alarmed,  but  I  WM  dear  M  to  our 

Ton  «ee  the  iwnJfc    We  had  «•  Bnjority 

/«ae  1ft.—,  ,  .  It 

^,  but  it  waa  aueecMuuL    tne  H 

oiey  «iaaMi»M  what  I  TOM,  «ad  I  taiiihi  w» lie  temhle  Ifo» 
Playfair  in  no  time,  tho*  a  few  day*  ago  it  WM  Mid  that,  on  the 
question  of  *  Minister  of  Education,  die  Oppoaition  would  cer- 
tainly beat  n&. 

I  got  away  hy  eight  o*ek,  not  materially  injured  by  the  exer- 
tion: hut  I  am  now  to  he  quiet  tor  8  and  40  hours,  and  then 
I  ahall  be  more  than  quite  writ 

l4Mt  Sunday  Bradford  came  on  a  social  YMU*  and  WIM  ao 
dioefced  at  fr»4mg;  me  knocked  up,  that  he  diff*1kd  gffr^  t» 
pay  me  a  rwh,  wh,  vW  did  yeaterday  before  her  depaituie.  ,  .  . 

Handicapped  in  this  waj  br  flbma,  Dicraeli  had  to  face, 
in  the  last  portion  of  die  seanon,  die  moat  critical  ata^e  of 
a  ddieate  and  diftVnlt  qneation.  'There  is  not  a  mdc 
ahead  or  a  dood/  he  told  ladr  Chcaterfidd;  hot,  as  he 
remembered  when  writing  to  Ladj  Bradford,  there 


one  exception,  '  the  Church  Bill,  which  is  not  our  child,  and 
of  which  the  fortunes  are  very  obscure.'  It  was  an  un- 
merited misfortune  for  Disraeli  that  his  accession  to  power 
should  have  coincided  with  the  transference  of  the  Ritual- 
istic controversy  from  the  stage  of  public  discussion  to  that 
of  legislative  action.  He  had  been  a  party  to  the  appoint- 
ment of  a  Royal  Commission  in  1867  to  investigate  the 
problem,  and  might  reasonably  have  hoped  that  it  would 
have  been  taken  in  hand  by  Parliament  before  1874.  The 
Commission  had  been  issued  after  a  condemnation  of  Ritual- 
istic excesses  by  Convocation;  it  contained  a  full  repre- 
sentation of  the  High  Church  party,  Bishop  Wilberforce, 
Beauchamp,  Beresford-Hope,  J.  G.  Hubbard,  Canon  Greg- 
ory, and  Sir  Robert  Phillimore;  and  in  August  of  1867  it 
issued  its  first  and  practically  unanimous  report,  affirming 
the  expediency  of  restraining  variations  of  vestments,  and 
pronouncing  that  this  should  be  done  by  providing  aggrieved 
parishioners  with  easy  and  effectual  process  for  complaint 
and  redress.  Gladstone,  a  devoted  son  of  the  Church  of 
England,  had  held  office,  with  a  large  majority  at  his  back, 
for  five  subsequent  years;  and  yet,  beyond  expressing 
strongly  in  the  House  of  Commons  in  1872  his  belief  that 
there  was  an  urgent  case  for  legislation,  he  had  taken  no 
step  whatever  to  deal  with  the  extravagance  which  he  de- 
plored. Shaftesbury,  as  Evangelical  as  he  was  philan- 
thropic, had  endeavoured  year  after  year  to  obtain  support 
in  the  Lords  for  a  drastic  Bill  of  his  own ;  but  a  man  of  his 
extreme  views  could  hardly  expect  support  from  the  bench 
of  Bishops.  Meanwhile  the  situation  had  become  worse, 
owing  to  the  rapid  extension  of  the  Ritualistic  party  on  the 
one  hand,  and,  on  the  other,  to  a  striking  discrepancy  among 
the  oracles  of  the  law.  In  the  Purchas  case  the  use  of 
Eucharistic  vestments,  of  the  eastward  position  by  the 
celebrant,  of  wafer-bread,  and  of  the  mixed  Chalice  —  the 
four  points  to  which  most  importance  was  attached  by  both 
the  contending  parties  —  had  first  been  affirmed  to  be  law- 


ful  by  the  Dean  of  Arches  and  then,  on  appeal  to  the  Privy 
Council,  had  been  condemned  as  unlawful.  By  these  judg- 
ments each  party  in  turn  was  exalted  and  depressed ;  and  the 
reversal  of  the  first  by  the  second  rallied  to  the  Ritualistic 
side  no  small  following  among  the  moderate  High  Church- 
men. In  these  circumstances  the  Bishops,  under  the  guid- 
ance of  Archbishop  Tait,  came  to  the  conclusion  that  legis- 
lation must  be  promoted  to  prevent  the  further  spread  of 
anarchy  and  the  possible  disruption  of  the  Church.  But 
they  concerned  themselves  solely  with  the  machinery  for 
enforcing  the  law,  ignoring  the  patent  fact,  which  the  Pur- 
chas  judgments  advertised,  that  that  law  was  capable  of  very 
different  interpretations. 

When,  in  January,  1874,  the  episcopal  decision  was  taken, 
Gladstone  was  in  power;  before  the  session  opened,  there 
was  a  new  Government,  and  one  in  which  both  High  and 
Low  Church  had  eminent  representatives  —  Salisbury, 
Hardy,  and  Carnarvon  on  one  side,  and  Cairns  on  the  other. 
Disraeli  himself,  much  impressed,  as  Lothair  showed,  by 
the  recent  successes  of  Roman  propaganda  in  England,  and 
believing  also,  as  he  wrote  in  the  General  Preface  to  the 
Novels,  that  the  '  medieval  superstitions,'  which  Ritualism 
revived,  were  l  generally  only  the  embodiment  of  pagan 
ceremonies  and  creeds,'  was  averse  from  the  new  develop- 
ment; in  private  letters  he  disrespectfuly  referred  to 
Ritualistic  practices  as  'high  jinks.'  But,  with  a  vivid 
recollection  of  the  Ecclesiastical  Titles  fiasco  in  1850-51,  he 
was  much  too  shrewd  to  wish  to  embark  on  ecclesiastical 
legislation;  and  in  his  correspondence  over  Beauchamp's 
appointment  to  the  Household  had  been  quite  ready  to  ac- 
cept Salisbury's  standpoint. 

But  hardly  was  he  installed  in  office  before  pressure  was 
applied  to  him.  Within  the  first  week  he  received,  along 
with  the  Archbishop's  congratulations,  a  notification  that  the 
Bishops  were  contemplating  a  Bill  and  looked  to  the  Gov- 
ernment for  advice  and  support. 


From  Archbishop  Tait. 

Private  and  Confidential.  ADDINGTON  PARK,  Feb.  23,  '74. — 
First  let  me  express  my  congratulations,  if  indeed  it  be  a  sub- 
ject of  congratulation  to  bave  won  the  most  influential  post  in 
Europe  by  a  most  honorable  manifestation  of  the  regard  of  a 
great  people,  even  though  that  post  brings  the  heaviest  burden 
that  any  one  man  can  be  called  to  bear.  May  God  sustain  you 
and  help  you  to  use  all  your  influence  for  the  best  interests  of 
the  country! 

Secondly  will  you  allow  me  in  my  own  department  to  proceed 
to  add  to  your  burden?  May  I  ask  you  to  read  the  enclosed 
memorandum  ?  It  has  been  drawn  up  after  full  consultation  with 
the  Queen.  Her  Majesty  is  much  interested  in  it,  thinking, 
I  believe  rightly,  that,  unless  something  of  the  kind  indicated 
is  done>  the  Church  of  England  will  go  on  the  breakers.  The 
Bishops  also  have  almost  unanimously  approved. 

If,  after  talking  over  the  matter  with  the  Queen,  you  see 
your  way  to  help  us  with  the  force  of  Government  in  some 
necessary  legislation,  I  shall  feel  very  grateful  for  your  advice. 

The  great  body  of  moderate  persons  will  I  think  approve, 
unless  some  cannonade  is  opened  against  us  in  the  newspapers 
and  they  axe  frightened  from  their  guns. 

Lords  Salisbury  and  Carnarvon,  B[eresford]  Hope  and  Hub- 
bard  must  be  persuaded  that,  we  do  not  mean  to  persecxite  their 
friends,  only  to  make  them  act  reasonably.  Lord  Shaftesbury 
•and  his  following  must  be  convinced  that  there  is  no  danger 
of  weapons  intended  for  other  purposes  rebounding  against 
themselves,  unless  in  such  cases  as  are  obvious  violations  of  the 

I  trust  you  may  be  able  and  willing  to  help  us.  I  am  sure 
there  is  a  well-grounded  alarm  caused  by  the  lawlessness  which 
has  sprung  up  of  late,  and  which  is  sure  to  go  on  and  increase, 
if  we  wait  for  a  general  amendment  of  the  administration  of 
the  ecclesiastical  law,  which  may  I  fear  be  expected  to  be  ac- 
complished about  the  Greek  Kalends.  .  .  . 

The  Archbishop  of  York  is  thoroughly  with  me  in  the  matter 
on  which  I  write. 

The  Queen  had  already  shown  her  antipathy  to  the 
Ritualistic  movement  by  her  protest  against  receiving  ex- 
treme High  Churchmen  into  her  Household ;  and  before  the 
end  of  February  she  talked  earnestly  to  Derby  about  '  the 
duty  of  the  Government  to  discourage  Ritualism  in  the 


Church.'  The  Archbishop's  memorandum  dwelt  on  the 
lawlessness  of  selfwilled  incumbents,  the  complicated  and 
cumbrous  proceedings  of  the  ecclesiastical  courts,  and  the 
necessity  for  '  some  simple,  summary,  and  inexpensive 
process,  for  securing  obedience  to  the  law.'  The  Bishops, 
Disraeli  was  told,  suggested  that  summary  effect  should  be 
given  to  a  monition  issued  by  the  Ordinary,  the  Bishop,  on 
the  advice  of  a  diocesan  board,  half  clergy,  half  laity,  to  be 
enforced  by  sequestration,  subject  to  an  appeal  to  the  Arch- 
bishop of  the  Province.  Disraeli  at  once,  as  on  the  House- 
hold difficulty,  consulted  Salisbury,  who  put  the  capital  ob- 
jection in  a  nut-shell :  '  I  sympathise  with  you  sincerely  in 
having  this  trouble  put  upon  you.  The  Archbishop  is  ask- 
ing for  an  impossibility:  that  it  shall  be  as  easy  to  apply  a 
much-disputed  law,  as  if  it  were  undisputed.'  Salisbury 
proceeded  to  detail  his  criticism  in  a  note. 

Note  ~by  Lord  Salisbury. 

March  2,  1874. —  Most  people  will  sympathise  with  the  Arch- 
bishop's desire  to  prevent  '  rash  innovations  which  destroy  the 
peace  of  parishes.'  The  difficulty  is  to  devise  the  legislation  that 
will  do  this  without  producing  a  civil  war  in  the  Church  of 
England.  The  memorandum  is  vague:  and  upon  the  most  es- 
sential point  ambiguous.  I  cannot  help  thinking  that  the  ac- 
quiescence of  the  Bishops  is  due  to  that  cardinal  ambiguity. 

It  proposes  to  give  to  a  Bishop,  acting  with  a  council  of  clergy 
and  churchwardens,  a  power  of  forbidding  under  pain  of  seques- 
tration—  something  —  but  what?  May  they  forbid  anything 
they  please?  or  only  anything  illegal?  The  distinction  is  vital: 
but  there  is  nothing  in  the  memorandum  to  indicate  which  kind 
of  power  they  are  to  have.  I  must,  therefore,  examine  both 

1.  Let  us  assume  that  they  are  to  have  the  power  of  forbid- 
ding anything  they  please.  I  cannot  conceive  that  so  despotic 
a  proposal  would  pass.  .  .  . 

I  pass  to  the  second  alternative.  Let  us  assume  that  the 
Bishop  and  his  council  are,  by  the  new  legislation,  to  have  power 
of  forbidding,  not  what  they  please,  but  what  is  illegal.  I  can- 
not see  what  advantage  such  an  enactment  would  bring.  Its 
object  is  to  avoid  costly  litigation.  But  the  question  would  still 


remain  —  what  is  illegal :  and  that  question  can  only  be  decided 
in  a  court  of  justice.  .  .  . 

I  conclude  therefore  that  the  proposals  of  the  memorandum, 
if  understood  one  way,  would  be  contrary  to  the  whole  tenor 
of  English  law,  and  would  certainly  break  up  the  Establish- 
ment: if  understood  the  other  way,  they  would  not  attain  the 
cheapness  and  the  simplicity  they  have  in  view. 

Disraeli  was  very  reluctant  to  meddle  with  a  thorny 
question  which  must  necessarily  divide  his  Cabinet.  But 
events  rapidly  forced  his  hand.  Within  a  few  weeks  an  in- 
discretion of  the  press  revealed  the  intentions  of  the  Bishops, 
whereupon  public  feeling  began  to  kindle,  the  Protestant 
party  demanded  legislation  of  an  even  more  stringent  kind, 
and  Pusey  in  a  series  of  letters  to  The  Times  marshalled 
High  Churchmen  in  general  to  take  their  stand  by  the 
Ritualists.  It  was  clear  that  a  hornets'  nest  was  being 
stirred;  and  the  Queen  seized  the  occasion  to  bring  strong 
pressure  to  bear  on  Disraeli  to  support  the  Archbishop. 

From  Queen  Victoria. 

WINDSOR,  March  20,  '74. —  Mr.  Disraeli  is  aware,  the  Queen 
believes,  that  the  Archbishop  of  Canterbury  intends  to  intro- 
duce a  Bill  after  Easter  to  check  the  prevalence  of  Ritualism 
in  the  Church  of  England,  which  is  becoming  very  alarming. 

!No  measure  so  important  affecting  the  Established  Church 
should  be  treated  as  an  open  question,  but  should  have  the  full 
support  of  the  Government. 

As  far  as  the  Bill  may  be  directed  against  practices  so  lately 
declared  illegal,  little  difficulty  can  arise.  But  the  Queen  wishes 
to  express  further  that  she  warmly  sympathises  with  the  laity 
in  general  and  with  those  of  the  clergy,  who  wish  to  carry  on 
the  service  according  to  long-established  usage. 

The  Queen  therefore  earnestly  hopes  that  her  Government  may 
equally  support  any  dispensing  powers  in  the  Bill  that  may  be 
added  for  their  protection  or  suggest  others  to  meet  the  same  ob- 
ject. Her  earnest  wish  is  that  Mr.  Disraeli  should  go  as  far  as  he 
can  without  embarrassment  to  the  Government,  in  satisfying  the 
Protestant  feeling  of  the  country  in  relation  to  this  measure. 

The  Queen's  proposal,  which  was  in  effect  that  those 
clergy  who  erred  on  the  side  of  excess  of  ceremony  should  be 


restrained  and  punished,  but  those  who  erred  on  the  side  of 
defect,  should  be  protected,  provoked  very  naturally  a  strong 
protest  to  Disraeli  from  Salisbury. 

From  Lord  Salisbury. 

INDIA  OFFICE  (Undated). —  A  very  unpleasant  state  of  things. 
Of  course  I  cannot  —  and  I  suspect  other  members  of  the  Cabinet 
could  not  —  support  such  a  Bill  as  is  here  sketched  out.  But 
I  hope  that  no  serious  difficulty  is  really  impending.  I  saw 
the  Bishop  of  Peterborough  on  Thursday.  He  assured  me  that 
the  Bishops  had  as  a  body  approved  of  no  Bill;  and  that  the 
majority  of  them  were  opposed  to  any  Bill  giving  them  despotic 
powers.  All  he  wanted  was  power  to  stop  practices  which  he 
thought  illegal,  pending  the  decision  of  the  proper  court. 

This  is  a  perfectly  reasonable  proposal  —  and  at  the  same 
time  it  might  be  made  to  satisfy  the  Queen. 

Such  a  unilateral  Bill  as  she  proposes  would  be  simply  im- 
possible to  draw.  If  you  gave  a  dispensing  power  to  Bishops 
they  would  use  it  on  both  sides;  and  you  cannot  name  the  ex- 
cepted  practices  in  an  Act  of  Parliament. 

I  have  seen  Liddon.  He  was  very  moderate:  promised  me 
that  he  and  Pusey  would  write  to  the  chief  Ritualists  in  the  most 
earnest  terms  to  warn  them  of  the  danger  of  their  proceedings. 
This  has  been  done.  But  he  told  me  that  he  was  being  treated  as 
a  renegade  by  a  large  section  of  his  party.  .  .  . 

Salisbury  further  pointed  out  that  the  procedure  sug- 
gested by  the  Archbishop's  Bill  involved  a  fundamental 
change  in  the  status  of  the  clergy.  At  present  the  bene- 
ficed  clergy  were  freeholders  so  long  as  they  obeyed  known 
conditions;  under  the  Archbishop's  scheme  they  would  be 
subjected  to  a  purely  discretionary  power.  But  Salisbury 
was  anxious  to  find  a  modus  vivendi;  and  had  various  talks 
with  Cairns  to  that  end.  Cairns  was  as  little  disposed  to 
accept  the  Archbishop's  proposal  as  Salisbury. 

From  Lord  Cairns. 

5,  CROMWELL  HOUSES,  S.  W:,  March  25,  1874. —  This  is  a  very 
embarrassing  question. 

I  have  a  strong  opinion  that  if  it  were  attempted  to  carry 
or  support  a  Bill  like  this,  as  a  Government,  it  would  lead  to 
a  secession  of  several  members  of  the  Cabinet 


I  doubt  much  whether  the  Evangelical  and  '  Protestant ' 
division  of  the  Church  would  be  willing  to  give  to  Bishops  and 
Archbishops  as  much  power  and  discretion  as  this  Bill  does. 

The  Bill  is  full  of  crudities  and  unworkable  provisions,  and 
the  alterations  in  some  of  its  leading  features  shew  that  its 
framers  are  not  decided  as  to  what  they  mean. 

By  the  Bill  the  Archbishop  and  his  Vicar-General  could  decide 
the  most  knotty  point  of  law  as  to  ecclesiastical  ritual  or  practice 
without  appeal. 

I  should,  individually,  much  prefer  an  enactment  by  which 
six  household  parishioners  (without  any  fantastic  council),  de- 
claring themselves  members  of  the  Church,  might,  on  giving 
security  for  costs,  complain  of  any  breach  of  the  law  .  .  .  ; 
the  complaint  to  be  made  in  a  summary  way  to  the  Bishop,  and 
an  appeal  from  him  to  the  Queen  in  Council,  to  be  referred 
to  the  Appellate  Court,  .with  ecclesiastical  assessors,  under  the 
Act  of  last  year. 

Something  like  this  passed  a  select  committee  of  the  H.  of 
L.  a  few  years  ago,  and  was  assented  to  by,  inter  olios,  Lord 

With  Cairns's  help  Disraeli  set  himself  to  make  the 
Archbishop's  Bill  a  more  workable  and  practicable  measure ; 
substituting  for  the  brand-new  diocesan  board  the  assessors 
provided  under  the  Church  Discipline  Act,  and  providing 
that  the  ultimate  appeal  should  be  to  the  Privy  Council 
instead  of  the  Archbishop.  Disraeli  was  well  aware  of  the 
pitfalls,  and  therefore,  while  lending  his  aid  to  the  Arch- 
bishop, was  careful  to  do  so  as  a  layman  of  influence  rather 
than  as  Prime  Minister. 

To  Lady  Bradford. 

WHITEHALL,  March  26,  1874. — .  .  .  At  twelve  to-day,  the 
Archbishop  comes.  There  falls  to  me  the  hardest  nut  to  crack, 
that  ever  was  the  lot  of  a  Minister.  A  headstrong  step,  and 
it  is  not  only  Ministries  that  wd.  be  broken  up,  but  political 
parties  altogether,  even  the  Anglican  Church  itself. 

I  have  no  one  really  to  consult  with.  I  can  listen  to  my 
colleagues,  and  all  they  say  is  worth  attention,  but  they  are 
all  prejudiced,  one  way  or  other.  .  .  . 

To  Queen  Victoria. 

2,  WHITEHALL  GARDENS,  April  18,  1874. —  Mr.  Disraeli  with 
his  humble  duty  to  your  Majesty : 

1874]       PUBLIC  WORSHIP  REGULATION  BILL          321 

He  has  just  had  an  interview  with  the  Archbishops  of  Canter- 
bury and  York. 

They  informed  him  of  the  result  of  the  meeting  of  the  Bishops 
yesterday  at  Lambeth,  when  they  submitted  to  them  the  new  Bill, 
framed  on  the  lines  suggested  by  Mr.  Disraeli  and  the  Lord 
Chancellor.  These  new  propositions  have  at  least  secured  unani- 
mity on  the  part  of  the  Bench  of  prelates:  the  High  Church 
Bishops,  especially  Salisbury  l  and  Oxford,2  though  still  ex- 
pressing their  opinion  that  legislation  is  unnecessary,  assenting 
to  the  proposed  measures.  This  is  something. 

It  is  clearly  understood,  that  the  Prime  Minister,  and  the 
Lord  Chancellor,  have  assisted  in  these  deliberations,  and  in 
this  correspondence,  only  as  two  Churchmen,  not  without  in- 
fluence, but  in  no  way  or  degree  binding  on  your  Majesty's 

The  only  object  of  Lord  Cairns  and  Mr.  Disraeli  has  been  to 
further  your  Majesty's  wishes  in  this  matter,  which  will  always 
be  with  them  a  paramount  object. 

After  the  statement  of  the  Archbishop  of  Canterbury  in  the 
House  of  Lords  next  Monday,  and  the  first  reading  of  the  Bill, 
Mr.  Disraeli  will  summon  a  Cabinet,  probably  on  Wednesday, 
for  its  'consideration. 

Mr.  Disraeli  refrains  from  being  sanguine  as  to  this  appeal, 
but  he  is  supported  by  the  conviction,  that  his  efforts,  which 
have  been  unceasing,  have  at  least  prevented  some  mischief  from 
occurring,  and  he  can  only  assure  your  Majesty,  that  in  this, 
as  he  hopes  in  all  things,  your  Majesty  may  rely  on  his  efforts 
for  the  advantage  of  your  realm  and  Church. 

So  strong  was  the  public  feeling  of  the  necessity  for 
legislation  to  prevent  anarchy  that,  in  spite  of  the  growing 
opposition  of  High  Churchmen  and  of  the  doubts  as  to  the 
machinery  suggested,  the  Bill  passed  both  its  first  and  its 
second  reading  in  the  Lords  without  a  division;  and  Salis- 
bury appeared  as  the  Government  mouthpiece  on  the  latter 
occasion.  The  Government,  he  said,  occupied  an  inde- 
pendent position.  He  admitted  that  a  check  to  lawlessness 
was  desirable ;  but  he  dwelt  strongly  on  the  danger  of  jeopar- 
dising the  spirit  of  toleration  on  which  the  stately  fabric 
of  the  Establishment  reposed.  The  three  great  schools  in 
the  Church,  the  Sacramental,  the  Emotional,  and  the  Philo- 

i  Moberly.  2  Mackarness. 


sophical,  must  be  frankly  accepted;  no  attempt  must  be 
made  to  drive  any  of  them  into  secession.  Cairns  grumbled 
to  Disraeli  that  he  should  be  sorry  if  this  speech  '  was  to 
continue  to  be  the  expression  of  the  manner  in  which,  as  a 
Cabinet,  we  looked  at  questions  of  this  kind.'  But  Dis- 
raeli was  maneuvering  with  great  skill  to  preserve  the 
unity  of  his  Cabinet  in  a  difficult  position.  Here  is  his 
account  of  a  critical  moment  in  the  Committee  stage  in  the 

To  Lady  Bradford. 

2,  WHITEHALL  GARDENS,  June  5,  1874. —  The  proceedings  of 
yesterday  in  the  H.  of  Lords  were  the  most  important  in  the 
history  of  the  present  Government.  You  saw,  then,  the  result 
of  all  my  anxious  deliberations  with  the  Archbishops  for  the 
last  three  months  and  more;  of  my  long  counsels  with  Lord 
Cairns;  and  of  the  anxious  discussions  of  many  Cabinets. 

Nothing  could  be  more  triumphant:  the  Archbishops  deferring 
entirely  to  the  Ministry;  and  Ld.  Salisbury  himself  supporting 
the  masterly,  and  commanding,  exposition  of  the  Lord  Chancellor. 
Every  arrangement  was  brought  about,  and  every  calculation 

You  were  in  the  secret  which  even  the  Fairy1  was  not,  tho' 
I  shall  now  tell  her  all;  but  the  admirable  sangfroid  with  which 
our  amendments  were  divided  between  Ld.  Shaftesbury  and  the 
Bp.  of  Peterboro'  must  have  been  amusing  to  you.  I  think 
the  whole  affair,  in  conception  and  execution,  one  of  the  most 
successful,  as  it  certainly  is  one  of  the  most  important,  events 
in  modern  political  history.  I  don't  think  Bismarck  really 
could  have  done  better;  and  I  believe  the  Church  will  be  im- 
mensely strengthened,  notwithstanding  Beauchamp  will  probably 
resign  and,  I  fear,  our  friend  Bath  is  furious.  I  fear,  too,  we 
are  doomed  not  to  meet  at  Longleat. 

I  cannot  give  you  a  good  account  of  myself.  I  was  well 
yesterday,  and  in  good  spirits  considering  I  had  not  had  the 
solace  of  seeing  you;  I  looked  after  affairs  in  both  Houses, 
guided  the  Licensing  Bill  in  the  Commons  thro'  some  quick- 
sands, and  frequently  visited  the  Lords,  conferring  with  D. 
of  Richmond,  Bishops  of  Peterboro'  and  Winchester,  Ld.  Derby, 
and  Beauchamp  during  the  crisis.  The  latter  came  to  me  twice 
while  under  the  Throne,  to  assure  me  the  Lord  Chancellor  had 

i  Queen  Victoria.  See  above,  p.  283,  and  Vol.  VI.,  ch.  '  Beaconsfield 
and  the  Queen.' 

1874]  THE  BILL  IN  THE  COMMONS  323 

ruined  everything,  and  when  I  mildly  mentioned  that  Ld.  Salis- 
bury approved,  he  said  'the  High  Ch.  thought  nothing  of  Lord 
Salisbury.'  But,  as  Derby  said,  '  if  Beauchamp  disapproves, 
we  must  be  right.' 

Our  House  sate  till  two  o'ck. ;  and  it  was  critical  to  the  last, 
so  I  cd.  not  leave  my  place.  And  then  I  had  to  write  to  the 
Fairy  on  the  proceedings  of  both  Houses,  as  I  had  promised 
her.  I  did  it  in  my  room  in  the  H.  of  C.,  but  when  I  rose  from 
my  seat,  I  found  the  enemy  had  attacked  my  left  foot.  I  was 
obliged  to  send  a  policeman,  over  half  our  quarter  of  the  town, 
to  find  me  a  cab:  and  here  I  am  with  the  D.  of  Manchester,  Ld. 
Fitzwalter,  and  Andrew  Montagu,  with  three  different  appoint- 
ments bet  [wee]  n  12  and  2,  and  the  absolute  necessity  of  being 
in  the  H.  of  C.  at  a/2  past  4.  ... 

[Same  date}. — .  .  .  I  look  upon  the  affair  in  the  Lords  as  the 
greatest  thing  I  have  ever  done.  .  .  . 

Shaftesbury's  amendment,  which  was  supported  by  the 
High  Churchmen  Salisbury,  Selborne,  and  Bath,  and  in- 
serted in  the  Bill,  was  the  vital  one  which  established  a 
single  lay  judge,  to  be  appointed  by  the  two  Archbishops, 
as  the  sole  tribunal  of  first  instance.  The  Bishop  of  Peter- 
borough's proposal  was  to  constitute  a  *  neutral  zone '  of 
practices  —  some  affected  by  High  Church,  some  by  Low, 
some  by  Broad  —  which  should  not  be  liable  to  prosecution. 
Its  exact  value  in  the  tactics  of  the  campaign  is  shown  by 
a  sentence  in  a  letter  from  Cairns  to  Disraeli  on  June  12 : 

You  may  be  interested  to  know  that  the  Bishop  of  Peter- 
borough's clause  seems  to  have  perfectly  done  its  work  as  a 
'  red  herring '  across  the  scent ;  and  the  probability  is  that  with 
the  thankful  approval  of  both  Archbishops,  most  of  the  Bishops, 
Shaftesbury,  Salisbury,  Harrowby,  Beauchamp  and  the  Ritual- 
ists, it  will  be  withdrawn  on  Monday,  and  the  remodelled  Bill 
pass  out  of  Committee  with  universal  consent,  if  not  applause! 

Cairns's  expectation  was  fulfilled.  So  adroitly  had  Dis- 
raeli pulled  the  wires  behind  the  scenes  that  the  Bill  was 
read  a  third  time  in  its  amended  form  without  a  division 
and  sent  down  to  the  Commons.  Neither  the  Government 
nor  the  Prime  Minister  had  as  yet  taken  any  overt  responsi- 
bility for  it ;  and  it  was  a  respected  private  member,  Russell 


Gurney,  the  Recorder  of  London,  who  moved  the  second 
reading  on  Thursday,  July  9.  On  the  eve  of  the  debate 
the  Archbishop  of  Canterbury  wrote  to  urge,  in  the  Queen's 
name,  as  well  as  in  his  own,  that  it  would  be  highly  inex- 
pedient to  allow  the  Bill  to  fail,  and  so  to  encourage  a 
perilous  agitation  in  the  autumn.  Its  progress  was  at  once 
seriously  threatened  by  the  greatest  orator  in  the  House. 
Gladstone  emerged,  by  no  means  for  the  first  time,  from  his 
retirement,  delivered  an  impassioned  speech  of  strong  op- 
position on  the  broad  ground  of  liberty,  and  announced  that 
he  would  move  six  voluminous  Resolutions  defining  the 
whole  position  of  the  Established  Church.  For  the  mo- 
ment he  carried  his  hearers  away,  but  a  powerful  argument 
from  Harcourt,  who  reminded  the  House  that  the  Church 
was  based  on  successive  Acts  of  Uniformity,  broke  the 
spell  of  the  great  enchanter;  and  when  Hardy  appeared  to 
support  Gladstone's  case,  he  was  met  by  noisy  demonstra- 
tions of  disapproval.  Disraeli  watched  the  rising  temper 
of  the  House  and  of  the  public,  and  drew  the  conclusion 
that  his  own  sentiments  about  Ritualism  were  shared  by  the 
great  body  of  his  countrymen,  and  that  therefore  it  was 
now  the  moment  to  come  into  the  open  and  associate  himself 
and  the  Government  with  the  national  resolve.  He  was  no 
doubt  confirmed  in  his  decision  by  the  insistence  of  his 

From  Queen  Victoria. 

WINDSOR,  July  10,  '74. — .  .  .  She  [the  Queen]  is  deeply  grieved 
to  see  the  want  of  Protestant  feeling  in  the  Cabinet;  Mr.  Glad- 
stone's conduct  is  much  to  be  regretted  though  it  is  not  sur- 
prising: but  she  wrote  to  him  in  the  strongest  terms  of  the 
danger  to  the  Church  and  of  the  intention  of  the  Archbishop 
to  bring  forward  a  measure  to  try  and  regulate  the  shameful 
practices  of  the  Ritualists. 

He  [Disraeli]  should  state  to  the  Cabinet  how  strongly  the 
Queen  feels  and  how  faithful  she  is  to  the  Protestant  faith, 
to  defend  and  maintain  which,  her  family  was  placed  upon 
the  Throne!  She  owns  she  often  asks  herself  what  has  become 
of  the  Protestant  feeling  of  Englishmen.  .  .  . 

July  11. —  The  Queen  thanks  Mr.  Disraeli  for  his  letter  which 

1874]  'TO  PUT  DOWN  RITUALISM'  325 

is  very  reassuring.  It  is  a  most  important  question.  Mr.  Dis- 
raeli must  have  managed  his  refractory  Cabinet  most  skilfully. 
(Telegram  in  cypher)  July  13. —  Pray  show  that  you  are  in 
earnest  and  determined  to  pass  this  Bill  and  not  to  be  deterred 
by  threats  of  delay. 

Accordingly  Disraeli  announced  that  Gladstone's  Resolu- 
tions amounted  to  a  challenge  of  the  whole  Reformation  set- 
tlement, and  must  be  brought  to  an  early  issue;  and  on  the 
resumption  of  the  second  reading  debate,  he  urged  that 
the  Bill  should  be  passed,  and  passed  during  the  current 
session.  Its  object  was,  he  said  —  adopting  a  phrase  from 
Gladstone's  speech  which  has  ever  since  been  fathered  on 
himself  — *  to  put  down  Ritualism.'  He  protested  that  he 
considered  all  three  parties  in  the  Church,  characterised 
respectively  by  ceremony,  enthusiasm  and  free  speculation, 
to  be  perfectly  legitimate;  but  he  wished  to  discourage 
'  practices  by  a  portion  of  the  clergy,  avowedly  symbolic 
of  doctrines  which  the  same  clergy  are  bound,  in  the  most 
solemn  manner,  to  refute  and  repudiate.'  He  was  prepared 
to  treat  with  reverence  Roman  Catholic  doctrines  and  cere- 
monies, when  held  and  practised  by  Roman  Catholics ;  what 
he  did  object  to  was  the  *  Mass  in  masquerade.'  The 
speech  elicited  the  sympathy  of  the  whole  House  with  in- 
significant exceptions.  The  second  reading,  in  spite  of 
Gladstone's  vehement  opposition,  was  carried  without  a 
division;  and  a  Gladstonian  of  proved  fidelity  urged  his 
leader  to  withdraw  Resolutions  for  which  not  twenty  men 
in  his  own  party  would  vote  —  a  suggestion  which  Glad- 
stone was  too  experienced  a  Parliamentarian  to  disregard. 
'  An  immense  triumph :  Gladstone  ran  away,'  was  Dis- 
raeli's complacent  report  to  Lady  Chesterfield.  The  en- 
thusiasm which  carried  the  second  reading  without  a  divi- 
sion was  prolonged  throughout  the  Committee;  the  mem- 
bers were  *  mad,'  said  the  protesting  Hardy ;  and  all  the 
important  clauses  were  passed  by  vast  majorities.  Only 
one  point  of  detail  needs  notice.  The  Archbishops  had  been 
careful  to  give  the  Bishop  a  veto  so  as  to  prevent  frivolous 


and  irresponsible  prosecutions  of  devoted  clergymen.  In 
the  teeth  of  Gladstone's  remonstrances  there  was  inserted  a 
clause  permitting  appeal  against  the  veto  to  the  Archbishop 
of  the  Province,  and,  in  spite  of  Gladstone's  renewed  as- 
sault, and  of  a  plea  from  both  front  benches  against  dis- 
turbing the  settlement  reached  in  the  Lords,  the  House 
maintained  its  amendment  by  a  majority  of  twenty-three. 

The  right  of  a  Bishop  to  uncontrolled  rule  in  his  diocese 
at  once  became  the  war-cry  of  High  Churchmen,  and  was 
warmly  taken  up  by  Salisbury  and  their  other  representa- 
tives in  the  Cabinet.  '  Affairs  are  very  critical,  and  I  be- 
lieve that  wrongheaded  Marquis  will  bolt  after  all,'  wrote 
Disraeli  late  in  July  to  Lady  Bradford.  In  the  first  days 
of  August  it  looked  as  if  the  Bill  would  fail  and  the 
Cabinet  might  be  broken  up.  Disraeli  was  urgent  with  the 
Archbishop  to  get  the  Lords  to  acquiesce  in  the  Commons' 
amendment,  without  which,  in  his  opinion,  the  Commons 
would  refuse  to  proceed  with  the  Bill.  The  Archbishop 
himself  was  inclined  to  share  Disraeli's  fears,  but  could 
not  persuade  his  suffragans  to  surrender  what  they  held  to 
be  their  unquestionable  episcopal  rights.  Salisbury  urged 
the  House  of  Lords  to  disregard  the  kind  of  bluster  which 
was  always  used  when  the  Peers  showed  a  disposition  to 
insist  on  a  disputed  point.  He  for  himself  repudiated  the 
bugbear  of  a  majority  in  the  House  of  Commons.  The 
Lords  accordingly  struck  out  the  appeal  to  the  Archbishop 
of  the  Province ;  and  Disraeli  was  in  despair. 

To  Anne  Lady  Chesterfield. 

Private.  2,  WHITEHALL  GARDENS,  Aug.  5. — Things  are  as 
bad  as  possible:  I  think  the  Bill  is  lost,  but  worse  things  will 
happen  in  its  train. 

I  found  Carnarvon  at  the  Carlton,  dining  in  a  tumultuous 
crowd  of  starving  senators.  He  not  only  voted  against  the 
Archbishops,  Ld.  Chanr.,  and  D.  of  Richmond,  but  spoke  against 
them;  and  did  as  much  harm  as  Salisbury:  more,  they  say.  .  .  . 

Eventually,  however,  owing  largely  to  the  Archbishop's 
unwearied  diligence  in  bringing  his  personal  influence  to 

1874]  'BLUSTEK'  AND  'GIBES'  327 

bear,  Disraeli  managed  to  induce  the  Commons  to  surrender 
the  amendment  rather  than  lose  the  Bill ;  and  to  be  content 
with  a  little  strong  language  in  the  place  of  destructive  ac- 
tion. The  Bill,  therefore,  passed;  but  the  final  stage,  on 
Wednesday,  August  5,  just  before  prorogation,  was  of 
dramatic  quality.  Salisbury's  stinging  phrase  about  blus- 
ter provoked  an  outbreak.  Harcourt,  long  Disraeli's  friend 
in  private,  made  from  the  front  Opposition  bench  his  most 
notable  approximation  to  him  in  public.  Amid  general 
cheers,  he  appealed  to  him,  as  '  a  leader  who  is  proud  of  the 
House  of  Commons  and  of  whom  the  House  of  Commons  is 
proud,'  to  vindicate  its  dignity  '  against  the  ill-advised  rail- 
ing of  a  rash  and  rancorous  tongue,  even  though  it  be  the 
tongue  of  a  Cabinet  Minister,  a  Secretary  of  State,  and  a 
colleague.'  The  speech  provoked  a  satirical  rebuke  from 
Harcourt's  leader,  Gladstone;  but  Disraeli  responded  sym- 
pathetically. The  necessity  of  putting  down  a  '  small  but 
pernicious  sect '  was,  he  said,  urgent.  The  House,  there- 
fore, would  do  wisely  to  pass  the  Bill,  even  without  the 
amendment;  and  members  should  not  be  diverted  from  the 
course  which,  as  wise  and  grave  men,  they  thought  it  right 
to  follow,  by  any  allusions  to  a  speech  in  the  other  House  of 

My  noble  friend  was  long  a  member  of  this  House,  and  is 
well  known  to  many  of  the  members  even  of  this  Parliament. 
He  is  a  great  master  of  gibes  and  flouts  and  jeers;  but  I  do 
not  suppose  there  is  anyone  who  is  prejudiced  against  a  Member 
of  Parliament  on  account  of  such  qualifications.  My  noble 
friend  knows  the  House  of  Commons  well,  and  he  is  not  per- 
haps superior  to  the  consideration  that  by  making  a  speech  of 
this  kind,  and  taunting  respectable  men  like  ourselves  with 
being  '  a  blustering  majority '  he  might  probably  stimulate  the 
amour  propre  of  some  individuals  to  take  the  course  which  he 
wants,  and  to  defeat  the  Bill.  Now  I  hope  we  shall  not  fall 
into  that  trap.  I  hope  we  shall  show  my  noble  friend  that  we 
remember  some  of  his  manoeuvres  when  he  was  a  simple  member 
of  this  House,  and  that  we  are  not  to  be  taunted  into  taking  a 
very  indiscreet  step,  a  step  ruinous  to  all  our  own  wishes  and 
expectations,  merely  to  show  that  we  resent  the  contemptuous 
phrases  of  one  of  our  colleagues. 


It  was  no  doubt  chaff,  but  it  was  chaff  with  a  sting  in  it ; 
nevertheless  Disraeli,  having  conspicuously  asserted  himself, 
and  vindicated  the  Commons,  was  anxious  that  a  public 
difference  should  not  degenerate  into  a  private  quarrel. 

To  Lord  Salisbury. 

2,  WHITEHALL  GARDENS,  Aug.  5, 1874. —  Harcourt  attacked  your 
speech  in  H.  of  Lords  last  night.  I  conceived  a  playful  reply 
to.  his  invective,  but  what  was  not  perhaps  ill  conceived  was, 
I  fear,  ill  executed,  and  knowing  what  figure  that  style  of 
rhetoric  makes  in  '  reports,'  I  write  this  line  to  express  my  hope, 
that  you  will  not  misconceive  what  I  may  have  been  represented 
as  saying,  or  believe,  for  a  moment,  that  I  have  any  other  feel- 
ings towards  you  but  those  of  respect  and  regard. 

Salisbury  wrote  a  good-humoured  reply,  and  took  an 
opportunity  before  the  prorogation  to  explain  in  the  Lords 
that  he  had  never  used  the  expression  '  blustering  majority,' 
and  that  when  he  talked  of  '  bluster '  he  was  referring  to 
the  argument  that,  when  there  was  a  difference  of  opinion 
between  the  two  Houses,  it  was  the  privilege  of  the  Com- 
mons to  insist  and  the  duty  of  the  Lords  to  yield.  There 
was  accordingly  no  lasting  soreness  between  Disraeli  and 
his  colleague  —  a  happy  result,  creditable  to  both  men,  which 
many  of  the  public  and  some  even  of  their  friends  were  slow 
to  believe. 

From  Lady  Derby. 

Private.  23,  ST.  JAMES'S  SQUARE,  S.W.,  Aug.  7,  1874.—.  .  . 
I  thought  you  might  like  to  have  some  private  report  of  the  wild 
man  of  your  team.1  I  have  just  seen  him,  and  all  is  right  for 
the  moment;  he  seems  much  pleased  with  a  letter  he  has  had 
from  you ;  he  was  hard  at  work  at  his  chemistry  and  experiments, 
which  the  state  of  the  atmosphere  was  interfering  with,  and  he 
will  be  off  to  Dieppe  to-night.  I  have  had  some  anxious  moments 
this  week,  and  dread  a  recurrence  of  difficulties  from  that 
quarter  in  November  when  Cabinets  recommence. 

To  Lord  Carnarvon. 

LONGLEAT,  Aug.  8th. —  I  had  never  seen  the  newspapers,  and 
of  course  took  it  for  granted  that  Harcourt  was  strictly  accurate 

i  Here  Lady  Derby  was  almost  certainly  quoting  a  playful  phrase  of 
Disraeli's  own  coinage. 

1874]         HIGH  CHURCHMEN  AND  DISRAELI  329 

in  his  quotation  of  Lord  Salisbury's  speech,  particularly  as 
Gavins  had  complained  to  me,  the  night  before,  of  S's  violent 
speech.  It  was  a  mess;  but  Salisbury  has  behaved  like  a  gentle- 
man, and  I  earnestly  trust  that  we  shall  all  manage  to  keep 
together.  No  effort,  for  that  object,  will  be  spared  on  my 
side.  .  .  . 

For  the  moment,  and  from  the  Parliamentary  standpoint, 
Disraeli's  championship  of  the  Public  Worship  Regulation 
Bill  was  an  enormous  success,  and  riveted  his  hold  on  his 
Sovereign,  the  legislature,  and  public  opinion,  without  even 
dislocating  seriously  his  hesitating  Cabinet.  But  subse- 
quent experience  of  the  scandals  of  imprisoned  clergymen  — 
men  of  high  character  if  doubtful  judgment  —  has  shown 
that  he  would  have  done  better,  in  the  interest  both  of  the 
Church  and  of  his  party,  to  adhere  to  his  original  position, 
and  to  discourage  and  postpone  legislation  which  certainly 
brought  to  the  Church  not  peace  but  a  sword.  '  No  one  could 
blame  an  ordinary  Prime  Minister  for  fixing  his  attention 
almost  exclusively  on  a  growing  lawlessness  which  seemed 
to  demand  prompt  abatement,  and  ignoring  delicate  points 
of  Church  tendency  and  feeling  to  which  Archbishops  and 
Bishops  and  a  large  number  of  High  Church  laymen  were 
equally  blind.  But  a  deeper  insight  might  have  been  ex- 
pected from  Disraeli,  who  never  failed  to  recognise  the  pro- 
found importance  of  the  spiritual  in  human  nature,  whose 
historical  studies  had  made  him  thoroughly  familiar  with 
the  inflammability  of  High  Churchmen,  as  shown  in  Dr. 
Sacheverell's  case,  and  who  had  had  personal  experience,  in 
the  Irish  Church  controversy,  both  of  their  detachment  from 
political  party,  and  of  their  electoral  weight.  He  had  warn- 
ings both  from  ecclesiastics  and  from  wirepullers.  The 
Bishop  of  Brechin  (Alexander  Forbes)  told  him  in  June 
that  three-fourths  of  the  clergy  —  a  class  whom  the  Bishop 
called  '  proverbially  vindictive  ' —  regarded  the  Bill  with  ex- 
treme discontent.  '  That  the  great  mass  of  the  clergy,  who 
had  no  sympathy  with  the  effrenata  licentia,  of  the  younger 
men,  should  make  common  cause  with  them  against  the  Bill 


shows  how  strongly  they  feel,  and  I  put  it  to  you  whether 
15,000  discontented  men  of  education  scattered  thro'  the 
country  is  not  a  thing  to  be  dreaded  by  any  Government.' 
The  gross  exaggeration  of  this  statement  probably  blinded 
Disraeli  to  the  substratum  of  truth  which  it  contained.  But 
his  party  manager,  Gorst,  reported  in  the  same  general  sense. 
'  The  potential  electoral  strength  of  the  High  Church  party/ 
he  wrote  on  July  29,  '  is  generally  under-estimated  on  our 
side.  If  they  became  actively  hostile,  as  the  Dissenters  were 
to  Gladstone  before  the  dissolution,  we  should  lose  many 
seats  both  in  the  counties  and  boroughs.'  It  has  always 
been  the  opinion  of  some  of  the  shrewdest  judges  that  te- 
sentment  at  Disraeli's  action  on  the  Public  Worship  Regu- 
lation Bill  counted  for  much  in  the  readiness  of  the  High 
Church  leaders  to  think  evil  of  his  policy  on  the  Eastern 
Question  and  to  throw  themselves  ardently  into  the  support 
of  Gladstone's  whirlwind  propaganda. 

In  one  of  his  letters  to  Archbishop  Tait  at  a  critical  mo- 
ment in  the  history  of  the  Bill,1  Disraeli  described  himself 
as  '  one  who,  from  the  first,  has  loyally  helped  you,  and 
under  immense  difficulties.'  There  is  no  reason  to  doubt 
that,  over  and  above  the  political  game,  Disraeli  was,  in 
his  conduct  of  this  awkward  business,  sincerely  anxious  to 
promote  the  interests  of  religion  in  the  Church.  It  is  a 
shallow  cynicism  that  refuses  to  see  earnestness  as  well  as 
insight  —  coupled  unfortunately  with  an  inadequate  sense 
of  the  historic  continuity  of  the  Church  —  in  such  a  passage 
as  the  following  from  his  second  reading  speech  in  the  House 
of  Commons. 

I  have  never  addressed  any  body  of  my  countrymen  for  the 
last  three  years  without  having  taken  the  opportunity  of  inti- 
mating to  them  that  a  great  change  was  occurring  in  the 
politics  of  the  world,  that  it  would  be  well  for  them  to  prepare 
for  that  change,  and  that  it  was  impossible  to  conceal  from  our- 
selves that  the  great  struggle  between  the  temporal  and  the 
spiritual  power,  which  had  stamped  such  indelible  features  upon 

i  For  a  detailed  history  of  the  controversy  on  this  measure,  see 
chapters  21  and  24  of  the  Life  of  Archbishop  Tait. 

1874]     THE  CHURCH  AND  THE  REFORMATION        331 

the  history  of  the  past,  was  reviving  in  our  own  time.  ...  I 
spoke  from  strong  conviction  and  from  a  sense  of  duty.  .  .  . 
When  I  addressed  a  large  body  of  my  countrymen  as  lately  as 
autumn  last,  I  said  then,  as  I  say  now  —  looking  to  what  is 
occurring  in  Europe,  looking  at  the  great  struggle  between  the 
temporal  and  spiritual  power  which  has  been  precipitated  by  those 
changes  of  which  many  in  this  House  are  so  proud,  and  of  which, 
while  they  may  triumph  in  their  accomplishment,  they  ought 
not  to  shut  their  eyes  to  the  inevitable  consequences  —  I  said 
then,  and  say  now,  that  in  the  disasters  or  rather  in  the  disturb- 
ance and  possible  disasters  which  must  affect  Europe,  and  which 
must  to  a  certain  degree  sympathetically  affect  England,  it  would 
be  wise  for  us  to  rally  on  the  broad  platform  of  the  Reformation. 
Believing  as  I  do  that  those  principles  were  never  so  completely 
and  so  powerfully  represented  as  by  the  Church  of  England;  be- 
lieving that  without  the  learning,  the  authority,  the  wealth,  and 
the  independence  of  the  Church  of  England,  the  various  sects  of 
the  Reformation  would  by  this  time  have  dwindled  into  nothing, 
I  called  the  attention  of  the  country,  so  far  as  I  could,  to  the 
importance  of  rallying  round  the  institution  of  the  Church  of 
England,  based  upon  those  principles  of  the  Reformation  which 
the  Church  was  called  into  being  to  represent. 

A  private  letter  in  the  autumn  provoked  by  a  magazine 
article  of  Gladstone's  on  Ritualism  further  elucidates  Dis- 
raeli's position. 

To  Lady  Bradford. 

2,  WHITEHALL  GARDENS,  Oct.  5. — .  .  .  I  have  read  G.,  but  with 
difficulty.  He  is  a  cumbrous  writer.  Now  for  the  substance, 
however.  Nothing.  He  does  not  meet  the  great  question,  wh. 
every  instant  is  becoming  greater. 

All  —  at  least  all  civilised  beings  —  must  be  for  the  'beauty 
of  holiness.'  No  one  stronger  than  myself.  In  ecclesiastical 
affairs  I  require  order,  taste,  ceremony.  But  these  are  quite 
compatible  with  a  sincere  profession  of  the  estab[lishe]d  re- 
ligion of  the  country.  What  I  object  to  is  the  introduction  of 
a  peculiar  set  of  ceremonies,  wh.  are  avowedly  symbolical  of 
doctrines  wh.  that  Established  Church  was  instituted,  and  is 
supported,  to  refute  and  to  repudiate.  This  is  what  the  people 
of  England  are  thinking  of.  His  article  is  mere  '  leather  and 
prunella.'  .  .  . 

If  Disraeli's  well-intentioned  efforts  had  not  materially 
contributed  to  strengthen  the  Church  of  England,  he  had 


the  satisfaction  this  session  of  settling  the  affairs  of  the 
Church  of  Scotland  on  a  generally  acceptable  basis.  The 
question  of  patronage  had  agitated  Scottish  churchmen  for 
300  years.  There  was  a  strong  feeling  in  Presbyterian 
Scotland,  thoroughly  conformable  to  its  special  type  of 
Christianity,  that  the  congregation  was  the  proper  author- 
ity to  select  the  minister;  and  it  was  largely  because  this 
privilege  was  denied  in  the  Establishment  and  the  patronage 
rested  to  a  great  extent  in  the  Crown  and  in  the  hands  of 
laymen  that  there  had  been  the  momentous  secession  of  the 
Free  Kirk  in  the  forties.  But  even  in  the  Establishment 
there  had  been  several  variations  of  custom,  and  on  the  ad- 
vice of  Lord-Advocate  Gordon  on  the  one  hand,  and  of  the 
Duke  of  Richmond,  a  great  lay  patron,  on  the  other,  Dis- 
raeli determined  to  settle  the  vexed  question  by  a  universal 
transfer  of  lay  patronage  to  the  congregations.  The  Bill 
passed  the  Lords  with  ease,  being  blessed  by  that  eminent 
Presbyterian  Liberal,  the  Duke  of  Argyll;  but  Gladstone, 
enticed  by  the  lure  of  ecclesiastical  controversy,  appeared  in 
the  Commons  to  make  a  vigorous  protest,  mainly  on  the 
strange  ground  that  it  would  be  an  injustice  to  the  Free  Kirk 
to  remedy  a  grievance  in  the  conditions  of  establishment 
which  caused  them  to  secede !  He  further  expressed  a  fear 
lest  the  measure  should  hasten  on  disestablishment,  a  policy 
of  which  he  professed  himself  '  no  idolater,'  though  he  was 
willing  that  his  memory  should  be  judged  by  his  dealings 
with  the  Church  of  Ireland.  Disraeli,  in  reply,  naturally 
expressed  the  hope  that  upon  Gladstone's  tombstone  there 
would  not  be  inscribed  the  destruction  of  another  Church. 
It  was  not  Gladstone's  fault  that  his  epitaph  lacked  this  ad- 
ditional embellishment.  In  later  years  he  gave  in  his  ad- 
hesion to  the  policy  of  disestablishment  for  Scotland  which 
in  1874  he  professed  to  dread;  but  the  removal  of  the 
grievance  of  patronage,  which  had  been  effected  in  his 
despite  by  Disraeli's  prudence,  had  by  that  time  so  strength- 
ened the  Church  of  Scotland  in  the  affections  of  the  Scottish 
people  that  the  assault  was  repulsed  without  serious  diffi- 


culty ;  and  the  whole  current  of  Scottish  opinion  has  now  for 
many  years  set  in  the  direction,  not  of  disestablishment, 
but  of  reunion  of  all  Presbyterians  in  one  national  Church. 
'Should  this  desirable  consummation  be  reached,  Scotsmen 
should  not  forget  Disraeli's  important  share  in  creating  the 
predisposing  conditions. 

There  was  one  other  ecclesiastical  measure,  introduced  by 
Ministers  in  July,  which  gave  Disraeli  some  trouble,  and 
did  not  enhance  the  reputation  of  the  Government.  This 
was  an  endowed  Schools  Bill,  which  modified  the  policy  of 
Gladstonian  legislation,  by  restoring  to  the  Church  of  Eng- 
land certain  schools  on  which  their  founder  had  impressed  a 
specially  Church  character,  but  which  had  been  thrown  open 
indiscriminately  by  the  last  Parliament.  However  the- 
oretically defensible,  it  was  hardly  an  act  of  wisdom  to  dis- 
turb an  arrangement  accepted  by  Parliament  and  already  in 
force;  and  the  Liberals,  under  Gladstone's  lead,  came  to- 
gether with  some  animation  to  protest.  Disraeli  saw  that 
it  was  desirable  to  abandon  a  course  which  Salisbury  had 
pressed  upon  his  colleagues;  so  he  amusingly  assured  the 
House  that  the  clauses  of  the  Government  Bill  were  so  ob- 
scure as  to  be  unintelligible  to  him,  and  he  must  therefore 
withdraw  them  for  reconsideration.  The  Bill  was  accord- 
ingly reduced  to  a  measure  merely  to  substitute  Charity 
Commissioners  appointed  by  the  Tory  Government  for  En- 
dowed Commissioners  appointed  by  their  predecessors. 

To  Queen  Victoria. 

HOUSE  OF  COMMONS,  Wednesday,  1  a.m.  [July  25,  1874.] — 
Mr.  Disraeli  with  his  humble  duty  to  your  Majesty: 

The  debate  on  endowed  schools  has  ended  with  a  good,  ma- 
jority for  the  Government;  between  60  and  70. 

What  is  of  equal  importance,  with  a  much  better  tone  in  the 
House:  everything  good-tempered  and  conciliatory. 

The  Cabinet  agreed  to  many  concessions  yesterday,  though 
with  difficulty:  Lord  Salisbury  stood  almost  alone,  but  he  was 
very  unmanageable.  It  is  entirely  his  Bill,  but  had  Mr.  Dis- 
raeli refused  to  sanction  it,  which  he  only  did  after  many  great 
alterations  by  himself  and  Lord  Derby,  Lord  Salisbury  would 


never  have  consented  to  your  Majesty's  Government  passing  the 
'Public  Worship  Bill';  and  that  was  all-important. 

From,  Queen  Victoria. 

Confidential.  OSBORNE,  July  27,  '74. —  The  Queen  has  re- 
ceived Mr.  Disraeli's  letter  of  yesterday.  She  sees  all  the  diffi- 
culties and  herself  has  regretted  that  the  Church  Regulation 
Bill  could  not  have  been  delayed  till  next  year,  on  account  of 
the  inconvenience  and  difficulty  it  caused  to  the  new  Govern- 
ment: but  it  was  impossible. 

As  however  Mr.  Disraeli  always  likes  to  have  the  Queen's 
opinion,  she  will  state  to  him  openly  what  she  thinks  it  most 
important  for  him  and  his  government  to  avoid,  in  order  to 
enable  them  to  carry  on  the  government  for  a  length  of  time, 
and  thus  to  save  the  country  from  frequent  crisises. 

He  will  recollect  that  when  he  left  office  in  '68  the  Queen 
urged  upon  him  the  importance  of  keeping  the  Conservative 
party  to  what  it  really  ought  to  be,  viz.:  Conservative,  and  not 
to  attempt  to  be  more  liberal  than  the  Liberal  party,  which  the 
passing  of  the  Reform  Bill  (which  was  forced  no  doubt  upon 
the  late  Lord  Derby)  rather  led  them  to  appear  to  be. 

Now,  while  being  decidedly  still  of  this  opinion,  which  the 
Queen  considers  to  be  essential  to  the  wellbeing  of  the  British 
Constitution  and  safety  of  the  Crown,  it  is  at  the  same  time 
equally  important  that  there  should  be  no  attempt  at  a  retro- 
grade policy  which  would  alarm  the  country  and  injure  the 
present  Government.  The  country  has  great  confidence  in  Mr. 
Disraeli,  but  not  so  much  in  those  of  his  adherents,  not  to  say 
colleagues,  who  show  a  disposition  to  urge  such  a  policy  as  she 
has  named  above.  This  would  be,  the  Queen  need  not  say  to 
Mr.  Disraeli,  very  dangerous;  and  while  improvements,  modifi- 
cations and  alterations  may  no  doubt  in  many  cases  —  where 
new  systems  have  not  worked  well  —  be  very  desirable  and  even 
necessary,  any  reversal  of  principle  ought  to  be  avoided,  even 
for  the  sake  of  precedent.  The  Queen  feels  sure  that,  with  Mr. 
Disraeli's  very  enlightened  views,  he  would  be  as  much  against 
this  as  any  one;  still  this  Endowed  Schools  Bill  has  been  by 
many  looked  at  in  this  light  and  she  trusts  that  Mr.  Disraeli 
will  take  any  opportunity  he  may  have  to  show  that  this  is  not 
the  policy  of  the  Government. 

Disraeli's  letters  to  his  intimate  friends  give  a  kaleido- 
scopic view  of  the  ups  and  downs  of  the  Parliamentary 
session  at  its  height.  Here,  first  of  all,  are  some  extracts 

1874]      PURCHASES  FOB  NATIONAL  GALLERY         335 

which  show  his  own  personal  exertions  in  order  to  augment 
the  art  treasures  of  the  nation. 

To  Lady  Bradford. 

H.  OP  COMM.,  June  2,  1874. — .  .  .  I  mean  to  rise  early  to- 
morrow and  go  to  Christie's.  If  the  Barker  pictures  are  as  rare 
and  wondrous  as  I  hear,  it  shall  go  hard  if  the  nation  does  not 
possess  them.  I  always  remember  with  delight  that  in  1867-8, 
on  my  own  responsibility,  I  bought  for  the  nation  the  Blacas 
collection  of  gems  —  £50,000 ! 

If  I  could  give  our  gallery  some  pictures  of  equal  quality, 
one  wd.  not  have  lived  in  vain. 

2,  WHITEHALL  GARDENS,  June  4. — .  .  .  I  have  been  closeted 
the  whole  morning  with  Mr.  Burton,  the  Director  of  the  National 
Gallery,  concocting  my  plans  for  Saturday's  sale.  I  believe  it 
will  end  in  the  H.  of  Comm.  repudiating  my  purchase,  and  I 
shall  have  to  appeal  to  Rothschild,  Lord  Bradford,  and  some 
other  great  friends,  to  take  the  treasures  off  my  hands,  and 
relieve  me,  by  a  raffle,  from  my  sesthetical  embarrassments.  We 
must  be  very  silent  till  Saturday,  as  I  don't  want  any  one  to 
know  the  Government  is  a  purchaser.  .  .  . 

10,  DOWNING  STREET,  June  17. — .  .  .  When  the  debate  over  the 
pictures  comes  off,  there  will  be  some  fun.  .  .  . 

July  28. — .  .  .  After  all,  the  great  attack,  so  long  threatened, 
about  my  pictures,  ended  in  vapor.  I  thought  once  the  vote 
wd.  have  passed  unchallenged,  and  in  silence;  but  Mr.  Hankey 
forced  me  up,  and  the  purchase 1  was  sanctioned  amid  cheers 
from  both  sides.  ,  .  . 

To  Anne  Lady  Chesterfield. 

H.  OF  COMM.,  June  20,  1874. —  A  hurried  line.  Yesterday  was 
a  very  hard  day  in  the  House.  The  Opposition  got  so  irritated 
at  all  our  new  proposals  in  the  Licensing  Bill,  which  are  very 
popular,  that  they  waxed  factious,  and  resolved  to  delay  business, 
and  throw  over  the  Bill  till  next  Monday.  I  had  a  great  force 
and  beat  them  throughout  the  night  by  large  majorities. 

My  new  troops  got  blooded,  and  begged  me  to  sit  up  dividing 
till  5  o'ck.  in  the  morning;  and  I  am  not  sure  I  shd.  not  have 
done  so,  had  I  not  found  out  that  I  could  appoint  a  morning 
sitting  without  notice.  This  quite  turned  their  flank.  We 
met  this  morning  accordingly,  and  have  carried  the  Bill  through. 
A  great  triumph!  .  .  . 

i  The  pictures  bought  included  a  Piero  della  Francesca,  a  Pinturic- 
chio,  a  Luca  Signorelli,  and  two  Botticellis. 


To  Lady  Bradford. 

2,  WHITEHALL  GARDENS,  July  3. — .  .  .  Yesterday's  debate  was 
satisfactory.  I  think  Home  Rule  received  its  coup  de  grace. 

Hartingto"n  had  spoken  in  a  manner  worthy  of  the  subject, 
and  his  own  position,  on  the  previous  night.  Yesterday  Beach 
quite  confirmed  his  rising  reputation  in  the  House,  and  the 
public  confidence  in  my  discrimination  of  character  and  capacity. 
Lowe  was  very  good;  terse,  logical,  and  severely  humorous;  and 
your  friend  was  not  displeased  with  himself,  wh.,  for  him,  you 
know  is  saying  a  great  deal.  .  .  .  The  most  effective  passage  in 
my  speech  was  the  reference  to  the  three  Irish  Prime  Ministers 
I  had  known,  the  three  Irish  Viceroys,  etc.,  etc.  All  this  in  the 
synopsis  in  The  Times  appears;  but  in  the  report  it  is  a  hash, 
and  the  3  Irish  Viceroys  are  turned  into  three  judges.  A  curi- 
ous piece  of  ignorance  is  '  morbid  sentiment '  turned  into  a 
'  mere  bit  of  sentiment,' 1  wh.  is  a  feeble  vulgarism.  .  .  . 

Disraeli's  speech,  on  the  Home  Rule  debate  was  one  of 
his  very  happiest  performances.  Its  keynote  was  a  banter- 
ing protest  against  the  absurd  insistence  of  the  Irish  in 
proclaiming  to  the  world  that  they  were  a  subjugated  people, 
a  conquered  race.  The  House  seized  the  point  with  im- 
mediate sympathy  and  punctuated  the  sentences  in  which  he 
elaborated  it  with  frequent  cheers.  '  I  have  always  been 
surprised/  he  said,  f  that  a  people  gifted  with  so  much 
genius,  so  much  sentiment,  such  winning  qualities,  should 
be  —  I  am  sure  they  will  pardon  my  saying  it ;  my  remark 
is  an  abstract  and  not  a  personal  one  —  so  deficient  in  self- 
respect.'  He  denied  that  the  Irish  were  conquered ;  '  they 
are  proud  of  it ;  I  deny  that  they  have  any  ground  for  that 
pride.'  England  had  been  subjugated  quite  as  much,  but 
never  boasted  of  it.  Both  the  Normans  and  Cromwell  had 
conquered  England,  before  they  conquered  Ireland.  He 
was  opposed  to  Home  Rule  in  the  interests  of  the  Irish  them- 
selves. '  I  am  opposed  to  it  because  I  wish  to  see  at  this 
important  crisis  of  the  world  —  that  perhaps  is  nearer  ar- 
riving than  some  of  us  suppose  —  a  united  people  welded  in 

i  A  natural,  almost  excusable,  mistake.  In  the  shorthand  note 
'  morbid  '  would  be  written  '  mrbd,'  and  '  mere  bit '  '  mr  bt ' —  a  dif- 
ference of  only  one  letter  and  a  space. 

1874]  HOME  RULE  AND  HOME  RULERS  337 

one  great  nationality;  and  because  I  feel  that,  if  we  sanc- 
tion this  policy,  if  we  do  not  cleanse  the  Parliamentary 
bosom  of  this  perilous  stuff,  we  shall  bring  about  the  disin- 
tegration of  the  Kingdom  and  the  destruction  of  the  Empire.' 

To  Lady  Bradford. 

2.  WHITEHALL  GARDENS,  July  31. —  A  most  severe  day  yester- 
day, the  Irish  members  having  announced  their  determination, 
whatever  might  happen,  not  to  allow  the  continuance  of  what 
are  called  their  '  Coercion  Acts '  to  pass ;  and  their  success  was 
inevitable  with  an  adequate  quantity  of  staying  power. 

I  was  in  my  seat  12  hours  —  from  4  to  41!  a  most  exciting 
scene,  with  many  phases  of  character.  At  first  they  were  in 
serried  rank,  and  very  firm  and  resolute :  our  men  the  same,  and 
Dyke  ordered,  in  the  great  dining-room,  a  grilled  bone  and  cham- 
pagne supper  at  2  o'ck.  to  be  ready  for  the  Tories. 

As  the  evening  advanced,  the  Liberal  party,  who  had  ostenta- 
tiously informed  us  that  nothing  in  the  world  wd.  induce  them 
to  act  with  the  Home  Rulers,  could  no  longer  resist  the  oppor- 
tunity of  embarrassing,  or  defeating,  the  Government,  and  joined 
the  rebels  in  force;  but  were  defeated  —  our  smallest  majority 
being  61. 

Then  about  two,  the  Irishry  began  quarrelling  among  them- 
selves, the  more  respectable,  Butt  himself,  Sullivan,  a  clever 
fellow,  who  wants  to  be  the  leader,  and  Mitchell  Henry,  an  Eng- 
lish millionaire  tho?  an  Irish  member,  and  who  supplies  the 
funds  of  the  party,  getting  ashamed  of  the  orgies  of  faction  in 
wh.  they  found  themselves  being  steeped;  and  about  three  o'ck., 
when  they  left  the  House,  when  the  factious  divisions  took  place, 
they  were  absolutely  hissed  by  their  own  assumed  creatures.  And 
a  little  before  4  o'ck.  we  tired  out,  or  shamed,  even  these  rapscal- 
lions, and  the  Bill  went  thro'  Committee  amid  loud  cheers. 

I  broke  their  ranks  by  keeping  my  temper  and  treating  Butt 
and  his  intimate  colleagues  as  gentlemen,  wh.  they  certainly 
are  not;  but  their  vanity  is  insatiable,  and  these  fierce  rebels 
did  nothing  but  pay  me  compliments.  .  .  . 

10,  DOWNING  STREET,  Aug.  1. — .  .  .  We  have  had  a  long  Cabi- 
net, and  I  have  had  many  deputations  and  interviews;  business 
gets  thick  the  last  days,  and  gentlemen  get  audiences  wh.  they 
asked  for  months  ago.  You  wd.  have  been  amused  if  you  had 
seen  and  heard  all  I  have  done  since  the  Cabinet  closed  at  three 
o'ck.:  Sir  Henry  Rawlinson  and  the  President  of  the  Royal  So- 

i '  The  hardest  life  I  ever  went  thro','  Disraeli  told  Lady  Chesterfield. 


ciety  and  Admiral  Sherard  Osborn,  who  want  a  new  polar  expedi- 
tion; and  Owens  College,  with  a  posse  of  professors  and  M.P.'s, 
who  want  100  thousand  pounds  and  to  become  a  University ;  and 

Mr.  who  says  his  brother  (late  M.P,)  is  low-spirited  that, 

after  40  years  of  Parly,  service,  '  there  is  nothing  now  attached 
to  his  name' — would  like  to  be  a  Privy  Councillor,  or  baronet, 
and  wd.  not  refuse  an  Irish  peerage,  and  so  on.  .  .  . 

The  tone  of  complacency  which  Disraeli  adopts  with 
reference  to  his  achievements  during  the  session  is  fully 
justified  by  the  comments  of  the  chief  Parliamentary  ob- 
server of  the  day. 

Foremost  in  official  position,  as  in  personal  success,  is  the 
Premier.  !Nlever  did  the  peculiar  genius  of  Disraeli  (it  is  a 
sublime  sort  of  tact)  shine  more  transcendently  than  during  the 
past  session.  He  has  at  no  period  of  his  career  risen  higher  as 
a  Parliamentary  speaker,  while  his  management  of  the  House 
is  equalled  only  by  that  of  Lord  Palmerston.  Not  in  the  zenith 
of  his  popularity  after  the  election  of  1868  did  Gladstone  come 
near  his  great  rival  in  personal  hold  upon  the  House  of  Commons. 
.  .  .  Disraeli's  slow,  deliberate  rising  in  the  course  of  a  debate 
is  always  the  signal  for  an  instant  filling  up  of  the  House  and  a 
steady  settling  down  to  the  point  of  attention,  the  highest  compli- 
ments that  can  be  paid  to  a  speaker. 

At  the  outset  of  his  current  Premiership,  Disraeli  fixed  upon 
a  policy  of  polite  consideration,  to  which  he  was  the  more  drawn 
as  certain  members  of  the  Ministry  he  succeeded  were  notorious 
for  the  brusqueness  of  their  manner.  The  addition  of  a  bit  of 
banter  and  of  a  dash  of  serio-comicality  lent  a  spiciness  to  his 
speech  which  was  always  relished,  and  was  never  allowed  to  reach 
the  proportion  at  which  the  mixture  left  an  unpleasant  taste  upon 
the  Parliamentary  palate.  .  .  .  Suffering  acutely  from  gout, 
Disraeli  has  stuck  to  his  post  with  Spartan-like  patience ;  and  one 
of  his  most  successful  speeches,  if  not,  on  the  whole,  his  best 
speech  of  the  session  —  that  on  the  Home  Rule  question  —  was 
delivered  after  he  had  been  sitting  for  four  hours  with  folded 
arms  on  the  Treasury  Bench,  visibly  tortured  by  twinges  from 
his  slippered  and  swollen  feet.1 

The  somewhat  acute  difference  which  had  arisen  between 
Disraeli  and  the  High  Churchmen  did  not  prevent  him  from 
fulfilling  an  engagement  to  pay  a  visit  to  his  friend,  Lord 

i  Sir  Henry  Lucy's  Diary  of  Two  Parliaments,  Vol.  I.,  p.  40. 


Bath,  a  conspicuous  member  of  that  party,  at  Longleat  im- 
mediately after  the  close  of  the  session.  He  came  direct 
from  Osborne,  experiencing  on  the  journey  the  embarrassing 
attentions  which  await  popular  statesmen  at  the  hands  of 
their  admirers.  Bath  told  Mr.  George  Russell  that  Disraeli 
was  the  dullest  guest  he  ever  entertained  at  Longleat;  and 
Disraeli's  own  accounts  suggest  that  he  did  not  find  himself 
in  congenial  society. 

To  Lady  Bradford. 

LONGLEAT,  WARMINSTER,  Aug.  7. — .  .  .  Osborne  was  lovely,  its 
green  shades  refreshing  after  the  fervent  glare  of  the  voyage, 
and  its  blue  bay  full  of  white  sails.  The  Faery  sent  for  me  ' 
the  instant  I  arrived.  I  can  only  describe  my  reception  by  tell- 
ing you  that  I  really  thought  she  was  going  to  embrace  me. 
She  was  wreathed  with  smiles,  and  as  she  tattled,  glided  about 
the  room  like  a  bird.  She  told  me  it  was  *  all  owing  to  my 
courage  and  tact,'  and  then  she  said  '•  To  think  of  your  having  the 
gout  all  the  time !  How  you  must  have  suffered !  And  you  ought 
not  to  stand  now.  You  shall  have  a  chair ! ' 

Only  think  of  that !  I  remember  that  feu  Ld.  Derby,  after  one 
of  his  severest  illnesses,  had  an  audience  of  Her  Majesty,  and 
he  mentioned  it  to  me,  as  a  proof  of  the  Queen's  favor,  that  Her 
Majesty  had  remarked  to  him  '  how  sorry  she  was  she  cd.  not 
ask  him  to  be  seated.'  The  etiquette  was  so  severe. 

I  remembered  all  this  as  she  spoke,  so  I  humbly  declined  the 
privilege,  saying  I  was  quite  well,  but  wd.  avail  myself  of  her 
gracious  kindness  if  I  ever  had  another  attack.  .  .  . 

I  have  very  bad  stationery1  here,  but  I  have  sent  for  some 
official  stores  from  D.S.  to-day,  and  shall  then  get  on  better.  If 
you  find  this  a  stupid  epistle,  it  is  the  stationery.  Their  paper, 
muddy  ink,  and  pens,  wh.  are  made  from  the  geese  on  a  common, 
entirely  destroy  any  little  genius  I  have,  and  literally  annihilate 
my  power  of  expression.  .  .  . 

My  travelling  from  S.hampton  to  Warminster  was  very  fatigu- 
ing. I  had  to  wait  at  S.  and  also  at  Salisbury;  an  hour  at  each 
place.  They  had  telegraphed  along  the  line  to  keep  compart- 
ments for  me,  so  wherever  I  stopped  there  was  an  enthusiastic 
group — 'Here  he  is'  being  the  common  expression,  followed  by 
three  times  three,  and  little  boys  running  after  me.  You  know 
Jhow  really  distressed  I  am  at  all  this.  And  I  had  a  headache, 
and  wanted  a  cup  of  tea,  and  made  fruitless  efforts  to  get  one. 

i  At  Longleat. 


I  always  found  outside  of  my  chamber,  wh.  had  been  lent  me  by 
the  manager,  a  watchful  band.  I  got  a  cup  of  tea  at  Salisbury, 
however,  from  apparently  a  most  haughty  young  lady;  but  I 
did  not  do  her  justice.  She  not  only  asked  me  for  an  autograph, 
but  to  write  it  in  her  favorite  work,  Henrietta  Temple!  I  could 
have  refused  the  Duchess  of  Manchester,  but  absolutely  had  not 
pluck  to  disobey  this  Sultana.  I  never  felt  more  ashamed  of 
myself  in  my  life. 

At  Salisbury,  I  found  Lady  Paget,  who  was  going  to  Long- 
leat  with  her  son,  a  very  young  Etonian.  Sir  Augustus  had 
travelled  by  an  earlier  train  with  the  luggage.  I  cd.  not  avoid 
giving  her  a  place  in  my  compartment,  and  she  talked,  and  with 
her  usual  cleverness,  the  whole  way:  an  hour  of  prattle  on  all 
subjects.  .  .  . 

We  did  not  get  to  L.  till  9,  and  tho'  we  dressed  in  ten  minutes, 
people  who  dine  at  8  don't  like  dining  at  9.  We  were  seven 
at  table.  ...  I  sate  by  Lady  B.  but  with  a  racking  headache, 
rare  with  me,  and  not  in  very  good  spirits,  for  if  Bath  was 
rather  furious  for  your  defalcation,  I  cannot  say  it  added  to  my 
happiness.  A  more  insipid,  and  stupid,  and  gloomy  dinner  I 
never  assisted  at,  and  I  felt  conscious  I  added  my  ample  quota 
to  the  insipidity  and  the  stupidity  and  the  gloom.  Lady  P[aget] 
tried  to  rally  the  scene,  but  she  had  exhausted  her  resources 
bet  [wee]  n  Salisbury  and  Warm[inste]r. 

It  was  only  two  hours  before  we  all  retired,  and  had  I  been 
younger,  and  still  in  the  days  of  poetry,  I  shd.  have  gone  away 
in  the  night,  wh.  I  used  to  do  in  my  youth,  when  I  was  disgusted. 

This  morning  things  are  a  little  brighter.  The  Baths  are 
appeased.  .  .  . 

Perhaps,  and  probably,  I  ought  to  be  pleased.  I  can  only  tell 
you  the  truth,  wh.  I  always  do,  tho'  to  no  one  else.  I  am  wearied 
to  extinction  and  profoundly  unhappy. 

Aug.  8. — .  .  .  Of  all  the  people  here,  I  like  best  the  chatelaine. 
She  is  very  kind  and  has  offered  more  than  once,  and  unaffectedly, 
to  be  my  secretary,  and  copy  things  for  me.  Bath  says  she 
writes  an  illegible  hand.  I  rather  admire  it.  It  reminds  me 
somewhat  of  missals  and  illuminated  MSS.  .  .  . 

Aug.  11. — .  .  .  Monday  (yesterday)  Lady  Bath  drove  me  to 
Frome  to  see  Bennett's  famous  church,  with  a  sanctuary  where 
'  lay  people '  are  requested  not  to  place  their  feet,  and  among 
other  spiritual  pageantry,  absolutely  a  Calvary  —  and  of  good 
sculpture.  The  church  is  marvellous;  exquisitely  beautiful,  and 
with  the  exception  of  some  tawdriness  about  the  high  altar,  in 
admirable  taste.  . 

1874]        VISITS  TO  LONGLEAT  AND  BRETBY  341 

The  priest,  or  sacristan,  or  whatever  he  was,  who  showed  us 
over  the  church,  and  exhibited  the  sacred  plate,  etc.,  looked  rather 
grimly  upon  me  after  my  anti-ritualistic  speeches;  and,  as  Lady 
Bath  observed,  refrained  from  exhibiting  the  '  vestments.'  But 
I  praised  everything,  and  quite  sincerely;  and  we  parted,  if  not 
fair  friends,  at  least  fair  foes.  The  world  found  out  who  was 
there,  and  crowded  into  the  church.  They  evidently  were  not 
Bennett's  congregation;  however,  they  capped  me  very  much, 
wh.  pleased  Lady  Bath,  who  would  drive  me,  in  consequence, 
round  the  town  in  triumph.  .  .  . 

After  leaving  Longleat  and  spending  a  couple  of  days 
at  Fonthill  and  one  in  London,  Disraeli  passed  the  early 
part  of  the  autumn,  with  the  exception  of  a  week  at  Bal- 
moral, as  the  guest  of  Lady  Chesterfield  at  Bretby;  though 
he  made  a  short  excursion  to  the  Bradfords  at  their  villa 
on  Lake  Windermere,  and  would  have  visited  them  at 
Weston  in  October  but  for  the  death  of  Lord  Forester,  the 
brother  of  the  two  ladies.  Although  he  was  seemingly  not 
attacked  by  gout  till  the  middle  of  September,  his  letters 
suggest  that  he  was  in  poor  health  and  in  poor  spirits. 

To  Lady  Bradford.  < 

10,  DOWNING  STREET,  Aug.  14. — .  .  .  You  seem  surprised  I 
went  to  Fonthill.  I  went  for  distraction.  I  cannot  bear  being 
alone,  and  when  I  join  others,  I  am  wearied.  I  do  not  think  there 
is  really  any  person  much  unhappier  than  I  am,  and  not  fan- 
tastically so.  Fortune,  fashion,  fame,  even  power,  may  increase, 
and  do  heighten,  happiness,  but  they  cannot  create  it.  Happiness 
can  only  spring  from  the  affections.  I  am  alone,  with  nothing 
to  sustain  me,  but,  occasionally,  a  little  sympathy  on  paper,  and 
that  grudgingly.  It  is  a  terrible  lot,  almost  intolerable.  .  .  . 

BRETBY  PARK,  Aug.  20. — .  .  .  I  came  down  here  very  much 
out  of  sorts,  but  the  kindly  methodical  life  here  —  the  regular 
hours,  the  tranquillity  of  the  sylvan  scene,  and  a  delightful  com- 
panion, who  has  the  sweetness  and  simplicity  of  a  flower,  have 
combined  much  to  restore  me.  And  increased  tone  brings  that 
serenity  of  mind,  wh.  ought  to  content  one,  instead  of  those 
romantic  thoughts  that  tear  the  heart  and  spirit,  wh.  ought  to 
vanish  with  youth,  and  certainly  ought  not  to  be  cherished  by 
any  being  who  pays  rates  and  taxes. 

Southey  wrote  a  very  remarkable  poem  on  the  falls  of  Lodore, 
wh.  imitates  the  rush  and  crash  and  splashing  and  hissing  of 


the  waters.  It  is  difficult  to  find  his  poems  anywhere  nowadays, 
but,  if  they  can  be  found,  I  should  think  it  must  be  at  Winder- 
mere.  Consult  John  Manners  anent. 

Southey  was  a  poet,  but  he  could  not  condense  or  finish.  He 
was  gifted  with  a  fatal  facility.  He  was  in  fact  an  improvisa- 
tore.  And  this  is  strange,  because  as  a  prose  writer  he  is  almost 
without  a  rival,  and  has  none  superior  to  him  in  polish  and 
precision.  .  .  . 

BRETBY  PARK,  Aug.  21. —  [My  letters]  are  weak,  inconsistent, 
incoherent,  and,  without  meaning  it,  insincere:  the  reflex  of  a 
restless,  perplexed,  hampered,  and  most  unhappy  spirit.  .  .  . 
Your  sister  has  thrice,  in  five  days,  drawn  me  aside,  to  ask  if 
anything  had  happened,  I  looked  so  unhappy.  .  .  .x 

To  Anne  Lady  Chesterfield. 

ST.  CATHERINE'S,  WINDERMERE,  Aug.  30. — .  .  .  I  visited  with  in- 
terest, the  scene  of  Wordsworth's  life  and  poetry.  I  shall  recur 
to  his,  perhaps,  not  hitherto  sufficiently  appreciated  volumes  with 
much  interest  after  gazing  on  the  mountains,  the  woods,  and 
waterfalls  of  Rydal. 

All  has  gone  here,  on  the  whole,  pretty  well :  Selina  charming, 
tho'  fitful,  and  my  Lord  absolutely  friendly. 

Whatever  happens  to  me  in  the  world  I  shall  always  love  you. 

To  Lady  Bradford. 

BRETBY,  Sept.  1. —  My  journey  was  not  very  successful,  for  my 
train  was  always  too  late  to  fit  in  with  Bradshaw,  so  I  had  to 
wait  an  hour  at  Stafford]  and  at  Lichfield.  But  after  all,  this 
is  not  a  mischance  that  ever  much  disturbs  me:  one  can  always 
think.  I  got  in  good  time,  and  they  were  congratulating  me  on 
having  a  quiet  dinner  (wh.  by  the  bye  I  wanted),  .  .  .  when,  lo 
and  behold,  as  we  were  about  to  sit  down  to  table,  Mr.  Scott2 
in  an  affected  whisper,  audible  to  everybody,  and  looking  very 
pompous,  announced  a  messenger  from  the  foreign  office  on  very 
urgent  business.  I  was  obliged  to  go  out;  and  found  matters 
as  he  described.  Had  I  been  at  Weston  or  Windermere  I  don't 
know  whether  the  secret  wd.  have  been  kept  exactly,  for  I  have 
told  you  one  or  two  before  this,  and  I  know  the  Master  of  the 
Horse  to  be  very  discreet;  but  here  things  are  different.  I  read 
the  despatch,  and  found  it  utterly  impossible  to  reply  to  it  off- 
hand :  it  required,  however  urgent,  much  deliberation.  So  I  made 
up  my  mind  to  sleep  upon  it,  and  send  a  telegram  for  the  moment. 

*  In  answer  to  this  letter,  it  appears  that  Lady  Bradford  called 
Disraeli  '  a  humbug.' 

2  Lady  Chesterfield's  servant. 

1874]  STORY  OF  A  DESPATCH  343 

But  then  I  had  to  telegraph  in  cypher,  and  you  know  what  that 
is,  from  George  Paget,  who  was  a  whole  morning  over  one  line. 
However  I  managed  it  at  last,  and  tried  to  return  with  a  smiling 
and  easy  mien  to  my  dinner.  But,  hungry  as  I  was,  having 
touched  nothing  but  my  St.  Catherine's  sandwich,  and  that  be- 
fore noon,  my  appetite  was  nothing  to  the  ravenous  eyes  of 
Lady  A.,1  who  exhausted  all  her  manoeuvres  to  obtain  an  inkling 
of  what  had  occurred. 

I  had  a  good  dinner  all  the  same,  and  indulged  in  some  good 
claret,  convincing  myself  it  was  a  wine  favorable  to  judgment: 
then  we  had  a  rubber  which  I  lost  as  usual,  and  my  wits  were  so 
woolgathering  that  it  was  fortunate  I  did  not  revoke,  as  I  did 
at  Weston. 

I  slept  very  well  till  five  o'ck.,  when  I  woke,  but  with  my  mind 
quite  clear,  and  what,  at  night,  had  seemed  difficulties  were  all 
removed;  so  I  opened  my  shutters  and  wrote  my  despatch  in 
pencil  in  bed.  By  the  time  my  fire  was  lit,  it  was  done,  and  I 
had  nothing  left  to  do  but  to  write  it  in  ink  with  very  few  altera- 
tions; and  the  messenger  was  off  by  the  very  earliest  train.  .  .  . 

You  will  say  '  Here  is  much  ado  about  nothing.  Who  cares  for 
his  despatches  and  his  telegrams  ? ' 

That  is  true  in  a  certain  sense;  but  everything  interests,  if 
you  are  interested  in  a  person.  I  assure  you  I  like  to  know 
very  much  how  you  are  all  getting  on.  You  need  never  want 
matter  in  writing  to  me  if  you  will  only  give  me  a  bulletin  of 
the  sayings  and  doings  of  your  circle  —  the  one,  after  all,  wh. 
interests  me  more  than  any  other  family  in  England.  .  .  . 

To  Anne  Lady  Chesterfield. 

[AT  BRETBY]  Sept.  2. —  A  piece  of  great  social  news!  Don't 
tell  them  directly,  but  make  them  guess  a  little.  A  member  of 
the  late  Government,  of  high  rank,  and  great  wealth,  has  gone 
over  to  the  Holy  Father! 

Who  is  it?  No  less  a  personage  than  the  Marq.  of  Ripon, 
KG.!  !  ! 

Shall  not  be  able  to  come  down  to  breakfast,  as  bag  very 
heavy,  and  if  I  don't  work  now,  I  shall  not  get  my  walk  with 
my  dear  companion. 

From  Bretby  Disraeli  went  for  his  second  and  final  visit 
to  Balmoral,  stopping  for  a  week-end  with  the  John  Man- 
ners at  Birnam  on  the  way. 

i  Maria  Lady  Ailesbury,  a  friend  both  of  Lady  Chesterfield's  and  of 
Disraeli's,  was  generally  known  in  society  as  '  Lady  A.' 


To  Lady  Bradford. 

BALMORAL  CASTLE,  Sept.  10. — .  .  .  The  Faery  here  is  more  than 
kind ;  she  opens  her  heart  to  me  on  all  subjects,  and  shows  me  her 
most  secret  and  most  interesting  correspondence.  She  asked  me 
here  for  a  week,  but  she  sent  to-day  to  say  that  she  hoped  I 
wd.  not  so  limit  my  visit,  and  that  I  would  remain  at  least  to 
the  end  of  next  week,  and  so  on.  .  .  . 

The  Derbys  dined  here  yesterday,  and  with  Princess  Beatrice 
and  Lady  Churchill  made  up  the  8  1.  .  .  .  The  Dss.  [of  Edin- 
burgh] was  full  of  life,2  asked  the  Queen  at  dinner  whether  she 
had  read  Lothair.  The  Queen  answered,  I  thought,  with  happy 
promptitude,  that  she  was  the  first  person  who  had  read  it.  Then 
the  Duchess  asked  her  Gracious  Majesty,  whether  she  did  not 
think  Theodora  a  divine  character;  the  Queen  looked  a  little 
perplexed  and  grave.  It  wd.  have  been  embarrassing,  had  the 
Dss.  not  gone  on,  rattling  away,  and  begun  about  Mr.  Phoabus 
and  the  '  two  Greek  ladies,'  saying  that  for  her  part  she  shd. 
like  to  live  in  a  Greek  isle.  .  .  . 

Sept.  12. — .  .  .  I  have  not  been  well  here,  and  had  it  not  been 
for  Sir  William  Jenner,  might  have  been  very  ill.  All  is  as- 
cribed to  my  posting  in  an  open  carriage  from  Dunkeld  to  Bal- 
moral, but  the  day  was  delicious,  and  I  was  warmly  clothed  and 
never  apprehended  danger.  I  felt'  queer  on  Wednesday,  tho'  I 
dined  with  the  Queen  on  that  day.  Thursday  Sir  William  kept 
me  to  my  room.  I  have  never  left  the  Castle  once.  On  Friday 
I  paid  Prince  Leopold  a  visit,  who  wanted  to  see  me,  and,  later  in 
the  day,  the  Queen  sent  for  me,  and  I  had  a  very  long  and  most 
interesting  audience.  She  told  me  that  Sir  Wm.  had  reported 
to  her  that  I  had  no  fever,  and  therefore  she  had  sent  for  me; 
otherwise  she  wd.  have  paid  me  a  visit.  She  opened  all  her  heart 
and  mind  to  me,  and  rose  immensely  in  my  intellectual  estima- 
tion. Free  from  all  shyness,  she  spoke  with  great  animation 
and  happy  expression,  showed  not  only  perception,  but  discrimina- 
tion, of  character,  and  was  most  interesting  and  amusing.  She 
said  I  looked  so  well  that  she  thought  I  cd.  dine  with  her. 

But  when  Sir  William  came  home  from  his  drive  with  P. 
Leopold  and  paid  me  his  afternoon  visit,  he  said  the  symptoms 
were  not  at  all  good ;  put  me  on  a  mustard  poultice  on  the  tipper 
part  of  my  back,  gave  me  some  other  remedies  and  said  I  must 

1  The  other  four  being  the  Queen,  the  Duke  and  Duchess  of  Edin- 
burgh, and  Disraeli. 

2  Writing  to   Lady   Chesterfield,   Disraeli   described   the  Duchess  at 
dinner  on  the  previous  day  as  '  most  lively,'  and  as  breaking  through 
'  all  the  etiquette  of  courtly  conversation.     Even  the  Queen  joined  in 
her  vivacity,  and  evidently  is  much  influenced  by  her.' 

1874]  ILLNESS  AT  BALMORAL  345 

not  think  of  dining,  or  of  leaving  my  room.  The  remedies  have 
been  most  successful;  an  incipient  congestion  of  the  lung  seems 
quite  removed,  and  he  does  not  doubt  of  my  being  able  to  travel 
on  Tuesday. 

This  morning  the  Queen  paid  me  a  visit  in  my  bedchamber. 
What  do  you  think  of  that  ? x 

The  G.  Duchess  2  is  in  despair  at  not  seeing  me :  she  is  reading 
Froude,  and  wanted  to  talk  it  over  with  me.  The  Derbys  also 
came  to  see  me  to-day.  .  .  . 

You  will  understand  from  all  this  that  I  am  a  sort  of  prisoner 
of  state,  in  the  tower  of  a  castle;  royal  servants  come  in  and 
silently  bring  me  my  meals ;  a  royal  physician  two  or  three  times 
a  day  to  feel  my  pulse,  etc.,  and  see  whether  I  can  possibly  endure 
the  tortures  that  await  me.  I  am,  in  short,  the  man  in  the  Iron 
Masque.  .  .  . 

To  Lord  Salisbury. 

BALMORAL  CASTLE,  Sept.  13. —  Being  here,  I  attended  to  your 
business  at  once.  .  .  . 

Our  royal  mistress  is  well,  and  looks  extremely  so.  She  takes 
the  greatest  interest  in  the  Ripon  incident,  and  is  most  curious 
to  ascertain,  who  was  the  artist,  who  cooked  so  dainty  a  dish. 
H.M.  believes  neither  Manning,  nor  Capel.  .  .  . 

The  Ld.  Chan  [cello]  r  is  only  a  short  distance  from  me,  as  the 
crow  flies,  but  a  day's  journey,  from  the  mountainous  ranges. 
He  wants  to  see  me  before  I  return  to  the  South,  but  it  is  difficult. 

The  Derbys  seem  quite  delighted  with  Abergeldie  and  its 
birchen  groves.  Not  that  the  court  see  much  of  them  — '  they  are 
so  devoted  to  each  other.'  .  .  . 

From  Balmoral  Disraeli  went  back,  still  unwell,  to 
Bretby,  and  there  on  Saturday,  September  19,  to  use  his 
own  words,  '  fell  into  the  gout,  and  that  very  badly.'  The 
attack  came  in  time  to  prevent  his  committing  a  great  im- 
prudence. Zealous  to  perform  his  high  duties  with  effi- 
ciency, and  realising  the  importance  to  the  Prime  Minister 
of  having  some  first-hand  knowledge  of  a  country  which, 
like  Ireland,  was  necessarily  so  constantly  in  mind,  he  had 
proposed  to  spend  part  of  his  first  vacation  after  accepting 
office  in  a  visit  to  the  island.  The  arrangement  was  that 

i '  What  do  you  think,'  Disraeli  wrote  to  Lady  Chesterfield,  '  of 
receiving  your  Sovereign  in  slippers  and  a  dressing-gown  ? ' 

»  The  Duchess  of  Edinburgh,  who  was  a  Russian  Grand  Duchess. 


he  was  to  arrive  in  Dublin  as  the  Viceroy's  guest  on  Satur- 
day, October  24,  and  then  visit  Killarney,  Cork,  Waterford, 
Derry,  Giant's  Causeway,  and  Belfast,  delivering  speeches 
in  the  three  capital  cities,  and  only  returning  to  England 
just  in  time  for  the  autumn  Cabinets  in  the  middle  of  No- 
vember. It  was  an  anxious  undertaking  for  a  man  in  his 
seventieth  year,  full  of  gout,  and  therefore  needing  rest  be- 
tween two  arduous  sessions  instead  of  a  wearisome  progress 
of  this  kind;  and  the  nearer  the  date  aproached,  the  more 
serious  the  difficulties  appeared.  *  What  am  I  to  speak 
about,  as  politics  are  out  of  the  question  ? '  he  wrote  to 
Corry  on  September  10  from  Balmoral.  A  few  days  later 
Derby,  with  sound  common  sense,  wrote  to  dissuade  his 
friend  and  leader  from  carrying  the  mad  scheme  through. 

From  Lord  Derby. 

ABERGELDIE,  ABERDEEN,  Sept.  15,  1874. —  More  I  think  of  your 
Irish  tour,  less  I  like  it:  and  for  various  reasons. 

First  you  are  overdoing  yourself.  No  man  can  go  through 
two  years  of  such  work,  as  yours,  leading  the  H.  of  C.  and  all 
the  rest  of  it,  without  an  interval  of  complete  repose.  You  are 
depriving  yourself  of  yours  without  any  strong  reason  for  so 
doing  that  I  can  see:  and  in  the  interest  of  the  party  and  the 
public,  I  think  you  are  wrong.  We  ought  to  be  in  for  3  or  4 
years,  and  neither  you  nor  anyone  else  can  keep  up  the  pace  at 
which  you  have  started  for  that  length  of  time. 

Everybody  would  understand  the  case  and  nobody  would  con- 
sider you  as  either  invalided  or  indolent  if  you  put  off  your  Irish 
expedition  on  that  ground  alone.  Indeed  a  quiet  interval  is  in 
your  position  almost  necessary  in  order  to  consider  what  shall  be 
proposed  to  the  Cabinet.  When  Cabinets  begin  it  is  too  late 
for  any  other  work  than  discussion  of  details. 

But,  apart  from  personal  reasons,  wbat  are  you  to  say  to  the 
Irish?  Every  question  in  Ireland  whether  of  the  past,  present 
or  future,  is  a  party  question.  It  is  not  in  the  power  of  man  to 
deal  with  topics  of  public  interest  in  such  a  way  as  to  please 
Ultramontanes  and  Orangemen.  The  moderates  are  few  and 
feeble  —  what  the  press  is  you  know.  You  must  be  pressed  to  do 
local  jobs  which  you  must  refuse  —  to  release  political  prisoners 
—  to  give  fixity  of  tenure  in  land  —  and  to  receive  deputations 
suggesting,  with  the  utmost  loyalty,  some  perfectly  impracticable 


modification  of  Home  Rule.  You  cannot  be  decently  civil  to 
Catholics  without  offending  Protestants,  and  vice  versa.  The 
only  point  upon  which  both  parties  agree  is  the  duty  of  spending 
more  English  money  on  Irish  soil. 

Your  knowledge  will  fill  up  the  rough  outline  which  I  am  draw- 
ing of  your  difficulties.  And  why  incur  them?  We  are  doing 
very  well.  A  moderately  extensive  programme  of  well-considered 
measures  will  satisfy  Parliament  for  next  year.  There  is  abso- 
lutely not  a  cry  of  any  kind  that  has  attracted  the  least  public 
attention  of  late.  The  only  strong  feeling  that  I  can  trace  in 
the  public  mind  is  anti-Catholic  feeling:  and  that  you  cannot 
gratify  and  may  possibly  have  to  run  against  in  the  course  of 
an  Irish  progress. 

Pray  excuse  unasked  advice:  though  in  fact  you  did  partly 
ask  for  it  when  we  met.  If  you  modify  the  large  programme 
which  has  been  marked  out  for  you,  is  it  not  worth  considering 
whether  the  postponement  of  the  whole  affair,  leaving  hopes  for 
another  year,  will  not  give  less  offence  than  the  curtailment  of 
parts  ? 

Derby's  reasoning  may  have  shaken  Disraeli's  purpose; 
in  any  case  the  gouty  attack  at  Bretby  put  the  Irish  visit 
out  of  the  question.  The  Queen  expressed  a  hope  that  he 
might  '  some  other  year  be  able  to  go  there,  when  he  is  quite 
well,  for  it  would  do  good  ' ;  but  the  opportunity  never  re- 
curred. Consequently  Disraeli  never  set  foot  in  Ireland; 
Gladstone  was  once  there,  for  three  weeks,  in  October,  1877. 
To  those  who  reflect  upon  the  prolonged  contentions  of  the 
rivals  over  Irish  policy  and  the  dominating  hold  which 
Ireland  obtained  over  Gladstone's  later  career,  these  facts 
must  seem  incredible,  were  they  not  true. 

To  Lady  Bradford. 

(In  pencil.)  BRETBY  PARK,  Monday  [Sept.  21]. —  I  am  too 
ill  to  write  even  to  you.  A  severe  attack  of  gout  has  been  the 
culmination  of  my  trials,  and  tho'  it  has  removed,  or  greatly 
mitigated,  dangerous  symptoms,  it  adds  to  my  suffering  and  my 
prostration.  The  dear  angel  here  is  more  than  kindness,  but 
that  only  makes  me  more  feel  what  an  enormous  outrage  on  her 
hospitality  is  the  whole  affair.  .  .  . 

I  sit  in  silence  quite  unable  to  read,  musing  over  the  wondrous 
12  months  that  have  elapsed  since  this  time  last  year.  I  have 


had  at  least  my  dream.  And  if  my  shattered  energies  never  rally, 
wh.  considering  that  these  attacks,  more  or  less,  have  been  going 
on  for  6  months,  is  what  I  must  be  prepared  for,  I  have  at  any 
rate  reached  the  pinnacle  of  power,  and  gauged  the  sweetest  and 
deepest  affections  of  'the  heart.  Adieu ! 

It  was  nearly  a  fortnight  before  Disraeli  was  able  to  be 
moved,  and  then,  after  passing  through  town  to  consult 
Sir  William  Gull,  he  went  home  to  remain  quietly  at 
Hughenden  till  the  November  Cabinets  were  approaching. 

To  Anne  Lady  Chesterfield. 

HUGHENDEN  MANOR,  Oct.  23. — .  .  .  There  is  no  repose.  The 
Court  is  a  department  in  itself. 

However  the  Ministry  are  in  great  favor.  The  adieu  of  the 
Queen,  after  the  Council,  to  the  Duke  of  Richmond,  was  '  I  wish 
you  to  remain  in  as  long  as  you  possibly  can.'  He  had  quickness 
eno'  to  reply  '  That  is  exactly,  Madam,  what  I  and  my  colleagues 
intend  to  do.' 

This  letter  really  must  be  for  your  own  eye  and  ear.  .  .  . 

To  Lady  Bradford. 

HUGHENDEN  MANOR,  Oct.  26. — .  .  .  I  like  him  [M.  Corry] 
very  much,  better  than  any  man :  but,  as  a  rule  and  except  upon 
business,  male  society  is  not  much  to  my  taste.  Indeed  I  want 
to  see  only  one  person,  whom  I  never  see,  and  I  want  to  see  her 
always.  Otherwise  I  would  rather  be  alone.  Solitude  has  no 
terrors  for  me,  and  when  I  am  well,  has  many  delights.  But  one 
can't  be  always  reading  and  thinking;  one  wants  sympathy,  and 
the  inspiration  of  the  heart.  .  .  . 

I  have  not  seen  Chas.  Greville's  book,  but  have  read  a  good  deal 
of  it.  It  is  a  social  outrage.  And  committed  by  one  who  was 
always  talking  of  what  he  called  'perfect  gentlemen.'  I  don't 
think  he  can  figure  now  in  that  category.  I  knew  him  intimately. 
He  was  the  vainest  being  —  I  don't  limit  myself  to  man  —  that 
ever  existed ;  and  I  don't  forget  Cicero  and  Lytton  Bulwer  x ;  but 
Greville  wd.  swallow  garbage,  and  required  it.  Offended  selflove 
is  a  key  to  most  of  his  observations.  He  lent  me  a  volume  of  his 
MS.  once  to  read;  more  modern  than  these;  I  found,  when  he 
was  not  scandalous,  he  was  prolix  and  prosy  —  a  clumsy,  wordy 
writer.  The  loan  was  made  a  propos  of  the  character  of  Peel, 

i  In  the  corresponding  letter  of  the  same  date  to  Lady  Chesterfield 
this  phrase  takes  the  more  clear-cut  form :  '  I  have  read  Cicero,  and 
was  intimate  with  Lytton  Bulwer,' 


which  I  drew  in  George  Bentinck's  Life,  and  which,  I  will  pre- 
sume to  say,  tho'  you  may  think  me  as  vain  as  Greville  for  say- 
ing so,  is  the  only  thing  written  about  Peel  wh.  has  any  truth  or 
stuff  in  it.  Greville  was  not  displeased  with  it,  and  as  a  reward, 
and  a  treat,  told  me  that  he  wd.  confide  to  me  his  character  of 
Peel,  and  he  gave  me  the  sacred  volume,  wh.  I  bore  with  me, 
with  trembling  awe,  from  Bruton  St.  to  Gros[veno]r  Gate.  If 
ever  it  appears,  you,  who  have  taste  for  style  and  expression, 
will,  I  am  sure,  agree  with  me  that,  as  a  portrait  painter,  Gre- 
ville is  not  a  literary  Vandyke  or  Reynolds :  a  more  verbose,  in- 
definite, unwieldy  affair,  without  a  happy  expression,  never  issued 
from  the  pen  of  a  fagged  subordinate  of  the  daily  press.1 

With  regard  to  myself,  what  I  am  suffering  from  is  not  gout, 
but  incipient  affection  in  my  throat,  tho'  I  doubt  not  real  gout  is 
at  the  bottom  of  it  all.  I  have  more  confidence  in  Leggatt  than 
the  other  gentlemen  you  mention.  L.  says  I  ought  to  go  to  Bux- 
ton,  or  at  least  to  the  sea,  and  so  on,  and  not  live,  as  I  am  doing, 
among  decomposing  woods.  That  is  very  true,  and  I  have  gen- 
erally managed  to  avoid  the  fall  of  the  leaf.  But  the  total  absence 
of  all  comfort  or  comforts,  that  one  encounters  at  an  hotel, 
countervails  the  happier  atmosphere.  One  must  be  at  home;  and 
I  am  going  to  town,  where  I  am  not  surrounded  by  mighty  beeches 
brown  with  impending  fate,  and  limes  of  amber  light,  and  chest- 
nuts of  green  and  gold  —  and  every  now  and  then  an  awful  sou'- 
wester that  brings,  in  whirling  myriads,  their  beauties  to  the 

In  the  meantime,  I  am  like  Crusoe  on  his  isle,  taking  infinite 
delight  in  many  silent  companions.  My  mittens  are  a  ceaseless 
charm.  I  fear  they  will  wear  out  sooner  than  you  expected,  for 
they  are  never  off  my  hands.  They  keep  the  hand  warm  and  yet 
free.  My  aneroid  is  at  my  side  at  this  moment ;  not  on  my  dress- 
ing-table, as  originally  projected,  but  my  writing-table.  I  man- 
age it  now  with  the  same  facility,  as  Herschel  or  Ld.  Rosse  did 
their  colossal  telescopes.  If,  in  my  loneliness,  one  is  tempted 
sometimes  to  feel  or  fancy  that  some  characters  and  things  we 
remember  are  merely  a  dream,  my  pencil  case  in  my  waistcoat 
pocket  proves  their  reality,  and  if  I  still  doubted,  something  is 
singing,  all  day  long,  which  is  called  '  Selina.' 2 

1  Greville's  character  of  Peel  appears  in  Part  II.,  Vol.  III.,  ch.  31, 
of  the  Memoirs:  Disraeli's  character  of  Peel  appears  in  Lord  Oeorge 
Bentinck,  ch.  17,  and  is  quoted  in  Vol.  II.,  ch.  11,  of  this  biography. 
The  loan  of  part  of  Greville's  MS.  to  Disraeli  is  mentioned  in  Memoirs, 
Part  II.,  Vol.  III.,  ch.  32. 

2  The  mittens,  aneroid,  pencil  case,  and  singing  bird  were,  of  course, 
all  presents  from  Lady  Bradford. 


Disraeli's  verdict  on  the  Greville  Memoirs  was  endorsed 
with  great  vigour  from  Balmoral.  It  is  not  surprising  that 
the  Queen  should  have  been  horrified  at  the  relentless  ex- 
posure of  the  vices  and  foibles  of  her  royal  uncles  contained 
in  the  first  part,  which  was  all  that  was  published  in  1874. 
But  Reeve,  the  editor,  was  quite  impenitent  under  royal  and 
Ministerial  displeasure.  Sir  Arthur  Helps,  Disraeli  told 
Lady  Bradford,  read  to  Reeve  some  passages  of  a  letter 
from  the  Queen.  '  The  Queen  said,  "  the  book  degraded 
royalty."  "  Not  at  all,"  rejoined  Reeve,  "  it  elevates  it, 
by  the  contrast  it  offers  between  the  present  and  the  defunct 
state  of  affairs,"  and  so  on,  fighting  every  point  with  smiling 
impudence !  ' 

From  Queen  Victoria. 

BALMORAL,  Nov.  12,1  '74. —  The  Queen  thanks  Mr.  Disraeli  for 
his  letters  received  to-day.  She  hopes  that  he  is  quite  well  and 

f  taking  care  of  himself.     But  she  would  strongly  advise  him  not 
to  accustom  himself  to  very  hot  rooms,  for  nothing  gives  people 

I    more  cold  than  sitting  over  a  large  fire  and  then  going  out. 

The  Queen  omitted  in  her  last  letter  saying  how  horrified  and 
indignant  she  is  at  this  dreadful  and  really  scandalous  book  of 
Mr.  C.  Greville's,  who  seems  to  have  put  down  all  the  gossip  which 
>he  collected  and  which,  as  we  well  know  from  the  experience  of 
the  present  day,  is  totally  unreliable.  His  indiscretion,  indeli- 
cacy, ingratitude  towards  friends,  betrayal  of  confidence  and 
shameful  disloyalty  towards  his  Sovereign  make  it  very  important 
that  the  book  should  be  severely  censured  and  discredited.  The 
tone  in  which  he  speaks  of  royalty,  is  unlike  anything  which  one 
sees  in  history  even,  of  people  hundreds  of  years  ago,  and  is 
most  reprehensible. 

Mr.  Keeve  however  is  almost  as  much  to  blame  considering  that 
he  is  a  servant  of  the  Crown  and  ought  never  to  have  consented 
to  publish  such  an  abominable  book. 

To  Queen  Victoria. 

WHITEHALL  GARDENS,  Nov.  10,1  1874. —  Mr.  Disraeli  with  his 
humble  duty  to  your  Majesty : 

He  thinks  your  Majesty's  critique  on  the  Greville  publication, 
ought  to  be  printed.  It  condenses  the  whole  case  —  no,  not  the 

i  There  must  be  some  mistake  in  the  dates  of  these  letters.  The 
second  is  clearly  the  answer  to  the  first. 

1874]        THE  CONSERVATIVE  WORKING  MAN          351 

whole  — '  indiscretion,  indelicacy,  ingratitude.'  The  book  is  a 
social  outrage,  but  what  is  most  flagrant  is,  that  it  should  be 
prepared,  and  published,  by  two  servants  of  the  Crown! 

Mr.  Disraeli  has  been  revolving  in  his  mind,  how  some  public 
reprobation  of  such  conduct  could  be  manifested.  For  this  pur- 
pose he  has  wanted  to  confer  with  various  people  —  and,  un- 
happily, he  has  never  been  able  to  leave  his  house  since  he  arrived 
in  town,  so  he  has  not  been  able  to  go  to  clubs,  or  talk  with  men, 
who,  as  Dr.  Johnson  used  to  describe  them,  are  '  clubable.'  .  .  . 

Mr.  Disraeli  humbly  thanks  your  Majesty  for  your  Majesty's 
ever  gracious  interest  in  his  health. 

He  assures  your  Majesty  he  endeavors  to  obey  all  your  Ma- 
jesty's commands  in  this  respect.  He  never  sits  over  a  fire,  and 
he  has  a  thermometer  in  every  room,  with  instructions  never  to 
exceed  63.  He  fears  he  is  suffering  from  a  gouty  habit,  wjiich 
has  broken  out  late  in  life,  but  which,  now  understood,  may  be 
conquered  with  care  and  diet. 

What  details  for  a  servant  of  the  Crown  to  place  before  a 
too  gracious  mistress!  His  cheek  burns  with  shame.  It  seems 
almost  to  amount  to  petty  treason. 

Disraeli  had  a  further  attack  of  gout  in  Whitehall  Gar- 
dens in  the  early  part  of  November,  and  it  was  with  con- 
siderable difficulty  that  he  managed  to  appear  at  the  Guild- 
hall banquet  and  to  hold  the  autumn  Cabinets.  At  Guild- 
hall he  vindicated,  against  Gladstone's  scepticism,  the  exist- 
ence and  indeed  inevitability  of  the  Conservative  working 

I  have  been  alarmed  recently  by  learning,  from  what  I  suppose 
is  the  highest  Liberal  authority,  that  a  Conservative  Government 
cannot  endure,  because  it  has  been  returned  by  Conservative  work- 
ing men,  and  a  Conservative  working  man  is  an  anomaly.  We 
have  been  told  that  a  working  man  cannot  be  Conservative,  be- 
cause he  has  nothing  to  conserve  —  he  has  neither  land  nor  capi- 
tal ;  as  if  there  were  not  other  things  in  the  world  as  precious  as 
land  and  capital !  .  .  .  There  are  things  in  my  opinion  even  more 
precious  than  land  and  capital,  and  without  which  land  and  cap- 
ital themselves  would  be  of  little  worth.  What,  for  instance  is 
land  without  liberty?  And  what  is  capital  without  justice? 
The  working  classes  of  this  country  have  inherited  personal  rights 
which  the  nobility  of  other  nations  do  not  yet  possess.  Their 
persons  and  their  homes  are  sacred.  They  have  no  fear  of  arbi- 


trary  arrests  or  domiciliary  visits.1  They  know  that  the  ad- 
ministration of  law  in  this  country  is  pure,  and  that  it  is  no 
respecter  of  individuals  or  classes.  They  know  very  well  that 
their  industry  is  unfettered,  and  that  by  the  law  of  this  country 
they  may  combine  to  protect  the  interests  of  labour ;  and  they 
know  that  though  it  is  open  to  all  of  them  to  serve  their  Sovereign 
by  land  or  sea,  no  one  can  be  dragged  from  his  craft  or  his 
hearth  to  enter  a  military  service  which  is  repugnant  to  him. 
Surely  these  are  privileges  worthy  of  being  preserved !  Can  we 
therefore  be  surprised  that  a  nation  which  possesses  such  rights 
should  wish  to  preserve  them?  And  if  that  be  the  case,  is  it 
wonderful  that  working  classes  are  Conservative? 

The  exertion  of  holding  the  Cabinets  was  too  much  for 
Disraeli,  and  in  the  end  of  November  he  had  another  attack, 
almost  as  severe  as  that  which  had  prostrated  him  at  Bretby. 

To  Lady  Bradford. 

2,  WHITEHALL  GARDENS,  Nov.  23. — .  .  .  I  called  in  Jenner  on 
Saturday,  suffering  much  in  my  chest,  I  believe  from  the  fogs, 
wh.  have  been  very  bad  here.  He  insisted  on  Bournemouth,  but 
I  had  intended  first  to  pay  a  little  visit  to  you  all,  wh.  wd.  have 
been  a  consolation  in  my  loneliness;  but  last  night  attacked  by 
gout  in  my  right  foot,  and  cannot  move. 

If  you  write  to  me  sometimes,  when  you  have  time  or  inclina- 
tion, I  shall  be  grateful :  but  I  do  not  press  it  or  expect  it  — 
hardly  think  it  reasonable  to  wish  it.  I  can  make  no  return. 
Long  suffering  —  for  this  has  gone  on  more  or  less  for  many 
months  —  and  exhaustion,  and  some  chagrin  of  the  heart,  have 
done  their  work  on  me.  Our  correspondence  has  always  been 
so  essentially  spontaneous,  that  I  do  not  wish  it  to  degenerate 
into  forced  sentences  or  the  bulletins  of  an  invalid,  which,  I 
know,  you  do  not  like,  and  there  we  resemble  each  other.  I  can- 
not write;  all  my  spring  is  gone.  .  .  . 

(In  pencil.)  Dec.  1. —  Amid  my  daily  reveries  and  nightly 
dreams,  it  seemed  to  me  I  had  only  one  purpose  —  to  write  to 
you,  and  try  to  convey  to  you  some  conclusions,  at  wh.  I  had 

i  It  was  suggested  that  Disraeli  was  indirectly  reflecting  upon  Bis- 
marck, who  was  employing  methods  of  this  kind  in  his  quarrel  with 
Count  Arnim,  German  Ambassador  in  Paris.  Disraeli  thought  it 
worth  while  to  disclaim  this  interpretation  by  a  communiqu6  in  The 
Times :  whereupon  he  was  absurdly  accused  by  the  Liberals  of  subservi- 
ency to  Bismarck.  '  No  man  in  his  senses,'  wrote  Delane  to  Corry, 
'  will  blame  the  Premier  for  removing  a  cause  for  irritation  he  had  not 
intended  to  excite.' 

1874-1875]     CONVALESCENCE  AT  BOURNEMOUTH    353 

arrived,  as  to  this  strange  illness,  wh.  has  harassed  me,  more  or 
less,  for  nine  months,  and  now  has  reached  its  climax.  But  when 
I  take  up  my  pencil  (your  pencil),  my  mind  deserts  me,  and  I 
am  utterly  incapable  of  expressing  thought  or  feeling  when,  only 
a  moment  before,  the  thoughts  seemed  so  deep,  and  the  feelings 
so  just  and  vivid. 

But  I  can  be  silent  no  more,  if  I  write  only  to  thank  you  for 
your  letters.  They  have  always  had  for  me  an  ineffable  charm; 
being  both  gay  and  affectionate,  like  yr.  own  happy  disposition. 

Mine  have  been  different:  unreasonable,  morose,  exacting,  dis- 
contented. I  feel  all  this  now.  I  will  not  defend  them.  I  wd. 
rather  leave  their  vindication  to  your  seraphic  idiosyncrasy. 

What  is  exactly  to  become  of  me,  I  don't  know.  Whether  I 
can  rally  must  be  doubtful.  To  get  out  of  this  repaire  is  a  ne- 
cessity, but  how  I  can  bear  travelling  for  hours  when  writing 
this  makes  me  fall  back  exhausted  on  my  pillows,  I  cannot  com- 

After  this  last  attack  Disraeli  went,  on  the  recommenda- 
tion of  the  Queen  as  well  as  of  his  physicians,  to  try  what 
Her  Majesty  called  '  the  very  salubrious  air  of  Bourne- 
mouth '  for  the  midwinter  weeks.  The  physicians  declared 
that  the  sea-air  would  gradually  '  burn  the  gout  poison ' 
out  of  his  blood.  Unfortunately,  it  was  a  particularly  bit- 
ter season.  '  How  damnable/  wrote  Corry  on  December 
19,  '  that  we  should  be  having  the  most  inclement  winter  of 
the  decade !  '  '  The  cold  is  intense  here,'  Disraeli  replied : 
t  deep  snow,  and  I  can't  get  my  rooms  up  to  60.'  Never- 
theless the  change  was  successful.  He  was  decidedly  better 
when  he  left  Bournemouth  early  in  January  for  Crichel; 
and  he  was  able  to  tell  Rose  on  January  15 :  'I  am  pretty 
well;  not  quite;  but  much  better  than  I  was  any  day  last 

To  Queen  Victoria. 

B-MOUTH,  Dec.  10,  1874. —  Mr.  Disraeli  with  his  humble  duty  to 
your  Majesty: 

He  cannot  refrain  from  thanking  your  Majesty  for  your  gra- 
cious inquiries  as  to  his  health. 

It  is  difficult  to  decide  on  atmospherical  influences  under  a 
week,  but  he  thinks  he  can  venture  to  say,  that  the  visit  to  this 
place,  which  your  Majesty  yourself  deigned  to  recommend,  will 
turn  out  a  great  success. 


The  weather  has  been  too  variable;  one  day  it  was  like  the 
Corniche,  so  soft  and  sunny,  the  Isle  of  Wight  looming,  and  yet 
not  distant,  and  the  waters  glittering  in  the  bay-like  coast.  But 
storm  has  prevailed,  and  nothing  but  the  bending  pines  could 
have  withstood  its  violence.  Mr.  Disraeli  is  on  the  cliff,  which 
is  a  great  advantage  to  him. 

He  has  received  the  Prince's  Life,1  which  he  is  reading  with 
much  interest,  particularly  as  it  reaches  a  period,  when  he  him- 
self began  to  take  some  part  in  public  affairs.  Much  of  the 
earlier  part  he  was  familiar  with  from  General  Grey's  volume. 
This,  however,  will  be  all  fresh  to  the  public,  and  Mr.  Disraeli 
has  no  doubt  the  work  will  produce  a  deep,  a  pleasing,  and  an 
enduring  impression.  .  .  . 

Dec.  IS,  1874. — .  .  .  He  began  the  Life  towards  the  end,  being 
interested  in  the  new  matter;  then  he  turned  to  other  parts  to 
compare  the  different  treatment  in  the  present,  and  in  the  volume 
compiled  by  General  Grey.  Then  he  got  so  interested  in  the 
treatment  of  the  subject,  that  he  began  the  work  regularly  from 
the  beginning,  and  he  can  truly  say,  that  it  is  a  most  able  book, 
and  one  that  will  endure.  There  is  in  the  general  treatment  of 
the  theme  an  amenity  worthy  of  the  subject.  Your  Majesty  most 
truly  and  justly  observes,  that  the  contrast  between  Mr.  Martin's 
volume  and  a  too  notorious  publication  is  striking;  but  it  is 
also  beneficial.  This  book  will  rally  the  public  tone.  After  the 
turbulent  and  callous  malignity  of  the  Greville  Memoirs,  one 
feels  as  if  an  angel  had  passed  through  the  chamber.  He  may  be 
invisible,  but  one  feels,  as  it  were,  the  rustling  of  his  wings. 

To  Lady  Bradford. 

2,  WHITEHALL  GARDENS,  Jan.  30,  1875. — .  .  .  I  am  going  to 
Hughenden  to-day  with  Monty;  and  on  Tuesday  I  am  going 
to  Osborne,  and  to  stay  there  till  the  Council  is  held  on  the  4th. 
The  Alberta  is  to  be  placed  at  my  disposal,  wh.  can  go  alongside 
the  pier,  so  I  am  not  to  get  into  an  open  boat,  and  there  is  a 
cabin  closed  in  on  deck,  where  I  am  to  sit  during  the  pas- 

Mr.  Corry  is  to  accompany  me,  and  I  am  forbidden  to  make 
any  change  in  my  usual  evening  costume,  as  it  might  give  me 

Everything  is  to  be  made  comfortable  for  me,  and  it  is  hoped 
I  may  stay  for  two  days,  in  order  that  I  may  rest,  and,  having 
the  Alberta,  I  may  choose  my  own  time. 

What  do  you  think  of  this?     And  when  will  you  be  so  kind 

1  Sir  Theodore  Martin's  Life  of  the  Prince  Consort. 


to  me?     Fancy  Monty  a  recognised  courtier!     The  first  private 
secretary  whose  existence  has  been  acknowledged  by  royal  lips.  .  .  . 

It  was  while  he  was  at  Bournemouth  that  Disraeli  com- 
pleted the  arrangement  for  one  of  the  most  picturesque 
features  of  his  first  year  of  office  —  the  offer  to  Thomas 
Carlyle  of  the  G.C.B.  and  a  pension.  He  had  been  cor- 
responding with  Derby  in  the  autumn  as  to  what  could  be 
done  to  honour  men  of  science.  '  I  wish/  he  wrote  on 
October  9,  *  we  had  some  comprehensive  order  like  the 
Legion  of  Honor.  I  am  sorry  that  society  perists  in  cheap- 
ening a  simple  knighthood.  It  satisfied  Sir  Isaac  Newton 
and  Sir  Walter  Raleigh.  Would  it  satisfy  Stokes  ? ' x  The 
Government  gratified  the  scientific  world  by  promoting  the 
Arctic  Expedition  under  Sir  George  Nares.  '  Can  we  do 
anything  for  Literature?'  wrote  Derby  on  November  28. 
He  suggested  that  Tennyson  and  Carlyle  were  the  only 
conspicuous  names;  and  in  pressing  Carlyle's  claims  men- 
tioned that  he  was,  '  for  whatever  reason,  most  vehement 
against  Gladstone.  .  .  .  Anything  that  could  be  done  for 
him  would  be  a  really  good  political  investment.  What  it 
should  be  you  know  best.'  Disraeli  caught  at  the  idea ;  he 
realised  the  splendour  of  Carlyle's  genius  and  the  reproach 
of  its  total  neglect  by  the  State;  and  his  imagination  sup- 
plied the  unique  distinction  2  which  might  not  unfitly  be 
offered  to  the  doyen  of  English  letters. 

To  Queen  Victoria. 

B-MOUTH,  Dec.  12,  1874. —  Mr.  Disraeli  with  his  humble  duty 
to  your  Majesty : 

As  your  Majesty  was  graciously  pleased  to  say,  that  your 
Majesty  would  sometimes  aid  him  with  your  advice,  he  pre- 
sumes to  lay  before  your  Majesty  a  subject  on  which  he  should 
much  like  to  be  favored  with  your  Majesty's  judgment. 

Your  Majesty's  Government  is  now  in  favor  with  the  scientific 
world.  The  Arctic  Expedition,  and  some  small  grants  which  may 

1  Professor  George  Gabriel  Stokes,  the  mathematician  and  physicist, 
1819-1903.     He  was  created  a  baronet  in  1889. 

2  The  Order  of  Merit  was  not  founded  until  the  Coronation  of  King 
Edward  VII. 


be  made  to  their  favorite  institutions,  will  secure  their  sympathy, 
which  is  not  to  be  despised. 

Can  nothing  be  done  for  Literature? 

Eminent  literary  men  are  so  few,  that  there  would  be  no 
trouble  as  to  choice,  if  any  compliment  in  the  way  of  honor  was 
contemplate.  Mr.  Disraeli  knows  only  two  authors,  who  are  es- 
pecially conspicuous  at  this  moment :  Tennyson,  and  Carlyle.  He 
has  no  personal  knowledge  of  either,  and  their  political  views  are, 
he  apprehends,  opposed  to  those  of  your  Majesty's  Government, 
but  that  is  not  to  be  considered  for  a  moment. 

He  has  an  impression,  that  Mr.  Tennyson  could  sustain  a 
baronetcy,  and  would  like  it.  Sir  Robert  Peel  offered  that  dis- 
tinction to  Southey. 

Mr.  Carlyle  is  old,  and  childless,  and  poor ;  but  he  is  very  popu- 
lar and  respected  by  the  nation.  There  is  no  K.C.E.  vacant. 
Would  a  G.C.B.  be  too  much?  It  might  be  combined  with  a 
pension,  perhaps,  not  less  than  your  Majesty's  royal  grandfather 
conferred  on  Dr.  Johnson,  and  which  that  great  man  cheerfully 
accepted,  and  much  enjoyed. 

These  thoughts  are  humbly  submitted  to  the  consideration  of 
your  Majesty,  with,  Mr.  Disraeli  hopes,  not  too  much  freedom. 

The  Queen,  in  Disraeli's  words,  '  entered  into  the  spirit 
of  the  affair  ' ;  and  lie  conveyed  the  offer  to  Carlyle  in  a  let- 
ter conceived  in  the  grand  manner,  to  the  composition  of 
which,  it  is  evident  from  the  interlined  draft  found  among 
his  papers,  he  had  devoted  considerable  labour.  As  a  prof- 
fer of  State  recognition  by  a  literary  man  in  power  to  a 
literary  man  in  (so  to  speak)  permanent  opposition,  it 
would  be  difficult  to  excel  it  either  in  delicacy  or  in  dignity. 
Fully  to  appreciate  its  magnanimity,  it  must  be  remembered 
that  Carlyle  had  always  treated  Disraeli  as  a  (  conscious 
juggler,'  '  a  superlative  Hebrew  conjurer.'  (  He  is  the  only 
man,'  Carlyle  wrote  to  John  Carlyle,  '  I  almost  never  spoke 
of  except  with  contempt;  and  if  there  is  anything  of  scur- 
rility anywhere  chargeable  against  me,  he  is  the  subject 
of  it ;  and  yet  see,  here  he  comes  with  a  pan  of  hot  coals  for 
my  guilty  head.' 

To  Thomas  Carlyle. 

Confidential.  BOURNEMOUTH,  Dec.  27,  1874. —  A  Government 
should  recognise  intellect.  It  elevates  and  sustains  the  tone  of  a 

1874]  OFFER  TO  CABLYLE  357 

nation.  But  it  is  an  office  which,  adequately  to  fulfil,  requires 
both  courage  and  discrimination,  as  there  is  a  chance  of  falling 
into  favoritism  and  patronising  mediocrity,  which,  instead  of 
elevating  the  national  feeling,  would  eventually  degrade  and  de- 
base it. 

In  recommending  Her  Majesty  to  fit  out  an  Arctic  expedition, 
and  in  suggesting  other  measures  of  that  class,  her  Government 
have  shown  their  sympathy  with  science.  I  wish  that  the  po- 
sition of  high  letters  should  be  equally  acknowledged;  but  this 
is  not  so  easy,  because  it  is  in  the  necessity  of  things  that  the 
test  of  merit  cannot  be  so  precise  in  literature  as  in  science. 

When  I  consider  the  literary  world,  I  see  only  two  living  names 
which,  I  would  fain  believe,  will  be  remembered;  and  they  stand 
out  in  uncontested  superiority.  One  is  that  of  a  poet;  if  not  a 
great  poet,  a  real  one ;  and  the  other  is  your  own. 

I  have  advised  the  Queen  to  offer  to  confer  a  baronetcy  on 
Mr.  Tennyson,  and  the  same  distinction  should  be  at  your  com- 
mand, if  you  liked  it.  But  I  have  remembered  that,  like  myself, 
you  are  childless,  and  may  not  care  for  hereditary  honours.  I 
have  therefore  made  up  my  mind,  if  agreeable  to  yourself,  to  rec- 
ommend Her  Majesty  to  confer  on  you  the  highest  distinction  for 
merit  at  her  command,  and  which,  I  believe,  has  never  yet  been 
conferred  by  her  except  for  direct  services  to  the  State.  And 
that  is  the  Grand  Cross  of  the  Bath. 

I  will  speak  with  frankness  on  another  point.  It  is  not  well 
that,  in  the  sunset  of  life,  you  should  be  disturbed  by  common 
cares.  I  see  no  reason  why  a  great  author  should  not  receive 
from  the  nation  a  pension  as  well  as  a  lawyer  and  a  statesman. 
Unfortunately  the  personal  power  of  Her  Majesty  in  this  respect 
is  limited;  but  still  it  is  in  the  Queen's  capacity  to  settle  on  an 
individual  an  amount  equal  to  a  good  fellowship,  and  which  was 
cheerfully  accepted  and  enjoyed  by  the  great  spirit  of  Johnson, 
and  the  pure  integrity  of  Southey. 

Have  the  goodness  to  let  me  know  your  feelings  on  these 

The  letter  to  Tennyson  reproduced  the  phraseology  of 
the  early  portion  of  that  to  Carlyle,  though  it  naturally 
did  not  draw  a  distinction  between  a  '  real '  poet  and  a 
*  great '  one.  Both  authors  refused.  Tennyson  had  had 
a  similar  offer  from  Gladstone  nearly  a  year  before,  and 
explained  to  both  Prime  Ministers  in  succession  that  he 
could  not  accept  a  baronetcy  for  himself,  but  would  be  grate- 


fill  if  such  an  honour  could  be  secured  for  his  son.  Nine 
years  later  the  poet  was  raised  to  the  peerage  on  Gladstone's 
recommendation.  Carlyle's  answer  was  reported  to  Derby 
by  Disraeli. 

To  Lord  Derby. 

B-MOUTH,  Jan.  1,  '75. — .  .  .  Alas!  the  Philosopher  of  Chelsea, 
tho'  evidently  delighted  with  the  proposal,  and  grateful  in  won- 
drous sentences,  will  accept  of  nothing  — '  Titles  of  honor,  of  all 
degrees,  are  out  of  keeping  with  the  tenor  of  my  poor  life,'  and 
as  for  money  — '  after  years  of  rigorous  and  frugal,  but,  thank 
God,  never  degrading  poverty,'  it  has  become  '  amply  abundant, 
even  super-abundant  in  this  later  time.' 

Nevertheless  the  proposal  is  '  magnanimous  and  noble,  with- 
out example  in  the  history  of  governing  persons  with  men  of 
letters '  and  a  great  deal  more  in  the  same  highly-sublimated 
Teutonic  vein. 

I  have  not  received  any  reply  from  Tennyson,  but  this  is  a 
secondary  affair. 

I  think  of  getting  away  from  this  on  the  4th  and  shall  stay  a 
week  at  Crichel  and  then  to  Westminster.  Northcote  is  with 
me  for  a  day  or  two,  preparing  for  the  Cabinets;  and  the  Ld. 
Chan  [cello]  r  is  a  great  assistance  to  me.  .  .  . 

For  the  moment  Carlyle  recognised  that  he  had  misjudged 
Disraeli.  Lady  Derby,  whom  Carlyle  credited,  perhaps 
rightly,  with  the  origination  of  the  idea,  wrote  to  Disraeli 
on  January  15 :  'I  saw  old  Mr.  Carlyle  to-day,  and  he 
scarcely  knew  how  to  be  grateful  enough  for  the  mark  of 
attention  you  had  paid  him.  I  assure  you  it  was  quite 
touching  to  see  and  hear  his  high  appreciation  of  the  offer.' 
But,  save  that  he  continued  to  prefer  Disraeli  to  Gladstone, 
the  feeling  was  transient;  and  when,  a  few  years  later,  he 
dissented  from  Ministerial  policy  in  the  East,  he  reverted 
once  again  to  his  earlier  language,  and  was  not  ashamed  to 
talk  of  the  Prime  Minister  as  '  a  cursed  old  Jew,  not  worth 
his  weight  in  cold  bacon,'  l  '  an  accursed  being,  the  worst 
man  who  ever  lived.'  2 

1  Life  of  James  Macdonell,  p.  379. 

2  Some  Hawarden  Letters,  p.  15. 



The  main  Government  programme  of  Social  Reform  was 
definitely  entered  upon  in  the  second  session  of  the  Par- 
liament. l  In  legislation/  wrote  Disraeli  to  Hicks  Beach 
in  December,  1874,  l  it  is  not  merely  reason  and  propriety 
which  are  to  be  considered,  but  the  temper  of  the  time.' 
The  time  was  propitious.  Though  there  were  disquieting 
symptoms  underlying  the  situation  abroad,  the  surface  was 
undisturbed,  and  there  was  no  immediate  reason  to  antici- 
pate any  foreign  complication ;  while  at  home  the  defeated 
Opposition  showed  as  yet  no  sign  of  cohesion  or  recovery. 
Social  improvement  and  not  revolutionary  change  was  what 
people  demanded ;  and,  to  give  effect  to  this  desire,  Labour 
members,  Alexander  Macdonald  and  Thomas  Burt,  the  fore- 
runners of  a  mighty  political  force,  had  been  returned  for 
the  first  time  to  Parliament.  The  general  tendency  of  the 
projected  legislation  was  settled,  on  Disraeli's  initiative, 
early  in  the  history  of  the  Government ;  and  as  the  autumn 
Cabinets  of  1874  approached,  the  Prime  Minister  asked  his 
principal  colleagues  for  further  suggestions.  The  letter 
which  he  wrote  to  Salisbury  is  typical. 

To  Lord  Salisbury. 

HUGHENDEN  MANOR,  Oct.  12,  1874. —  I  hardly  know,  whether 
you  have  left  your  chateau  sur  la  Manege1  but  doubt  not  this 
will  reach  you,  somehow  or  other. 

In  about  a  month  we  ought  to  commence  our  November 
Cabinets.  It  would  be  of  great  service  to  me,  and  very  agree- 
able also,  if  you  would  favor  me,  some  time  previously,  and  con- 

1  Salisbury  had  a  villa  at  Dieppe,  where  he  spent  the  autumn. 



fidentially,  with  your  general  views  as  to  our  situation,  and  any 
suggestion  you  can  make  as  to  our  future  course. 

I  saw  the  French  Ambassador,1  as  I  passed  thro'  town  —  an 
intimate  acquaintance,  and  more,  of  forty  years.  He  is,  as  you 
know,  experienced  in  English  politics.  He  said,  '  In  your  in- 
ternal situation,  I  do  not  see  a  single  difficulty.'  I  trust  he  is 

The  position  of  affairs  in  Ireland  must,  however,  demand  our 
attention.  The  group  of  laws,  called  the  Coercion  Acts,  are  on 
the  eve  of  expiring  —  but  we  could  scarcely  arrive  at  a  definite 
resolution  on  the  subject  until  the  meeting  of  Parliament. 

Is  there  any  question  connected  with  home  affairs  that  occurs 
to  you,  wh.  has  not  been  touched  on  in  our  councils?  I  believe, 
that  Mr.  Secy.  X  2  is  working  at  a  Dwellings  Bill.  .  .  . 

The  Cabinets  were  very  harmonious,  the  only  measure, 
a  remanet  from  the  past  session,  which  might  have  caused 
friction  being  judiciously  shelved  in  a  manner  which  showed 
that  Salisbury  bore  no  lasting  grudge  against  either  chief 
or  colleagues. 

To  Queen  Victoria. 

2,  WHITEHALL  GARDENS,  Nov.  12,  1874. —  Mr.  Disraeli  with  his 
humble  duty  to  your  Majesty: 

The  Cabinet  met  to-day,  and  sate  two  hours,  and  did  a  great 
deal  of  work,  and  all  satisfactory. 

In  the  first  place,  not  in  order,  but  in  importance,  the  question 
of  the  endowed  schools  was  brought  forward,  so  that  there  might 
be  no  future  misconception  on  the  subject. 

Lord  Salisbury  spoke  with  much  moderation  and  said,  that 
he  would  be  satisfied  with  a  compromise,  which  Mr.  Hardy  had 
suggested  in  the  Cabinet  at  the  end  of  the  session.  This  was 
conciliatory,  but  not  satisfactory  to  those,  who  deprecated  any 
further  legislation  at  all. 

To  our  great  surprise  and  relief,  Mr.  Hardy  said  that  he 
thought  it,  on  the  whole,  best,  not  to  take  any  further  action  in 
the  matter,  particularly  as  there  was  a  new  Commission,  whose 
views  we  ought  to  become  acquainted  with. 

The  Lord  Chancellor  strongly  supported  Mr.  Hardy,  and,  no 
one  then  speaking,  Lord  Salisbury  said,  that  neither  in  this,  nor 
any  subject,  did  he  wish  to  urge  his  views  against  a  majority  of 

i  The  Comte  de  Jarnac.     See  Vol.  III.,  p.  172. 
2R.  A.  Cross,  the  Home  Secretary. 


From  a  portrait  at  Hv.';hr>ulrn. 


the  Cabinet,  and  one  apparently  unanimous.  He  was  prepared, 
therefore,  to  do  nothing. 

Upon  which  Lord  Derby  exclaimed  '  Thank  God,  we  have  got 
rid  of  the  only  rock  a-head ! '  .  .  . 

Nov.  15. — .  .  .  The  Cabinet  was  engaged  yesterday  in  con- 
sidering the  measure  for  the  Improvement  of  the  Dwellings  of 
the  People.  This  is  likely  to  be  a  very  popular  and  beneficial 
measure,  but  will  require  great  care.  Your  Majesty's  Ministers 
must  be  cautious  not  to  embark  in  any  building  speculation : 
but  nothing  of  this  kind  is  contemplated.  This,  and  some  other 
measures  completing  the  code  of  sanitary  legislation,  took  up  the 
whole  sitting.  .  .  . 

These  meetings  have  been  eminently  satisfactory :  unanimous 
and  friendly,  and  never  the  slightest  indication  of  there  being 
two  parties  in  the  Cabinet. 

The  path  of  the  Government  was  still  further  smoothed, 
as  the  session  approached,  by  Gladstone's  definite  retirement 
from  the  Opposition  leadership,  and  the  choice  in  his  place, 
as  leader  of  the  Liberal  party  in  the  House  of  Commons,  of 
a  politician  of  weight  and  judgment  rather  than  of  ag- 
gressive force  —  Lord  Hartington,  the  heir  of  the  Whig 
house  of  Cavendish.  Disraeli  told  Lady  Chesterfield,  '  the 
new  joke  about  the  Whigs.  .  .  .  You  know  Ld.  Derby, 
pere,  said  the  Whigs  were  dished;  they  say  now  they  are 

To  Lady  Bradford. 

2,  WHITEHALL  GARDENS,  Feb.  2. — .  .  .  The  political  world  was 
never  more  amusing:  I  am  glad  that  Harty-Tarty  has  won  the 
day.  Never  was  a  party  in  such  a  position,  and,  tho'  I  never  would 
confess  it  to  anybody  but  yourself,  never  was  a  man  in  a  prouder 
position  than  myself.  It  never  happened  before,  and  is  not 
likely  to  happen  again.  Only  those  who  are  acquainted  with  the 
malignity  of  Glad  [stone]  to  me  thro'  a  rivalry  of  5  and  20  years, 
can  understand  this.  .  .  . 

To  Queen  Victoria. 

2,  WHITEHALL  GARDENS,  Feb.  5,  1875,  Friday  night. —  Mr.  Dis- 
raeli with  his  humble  duty  to  your  Majesty: 

The  House  of  Commons  reassembled  to-day,  in  unusual  num- 
bers, the  benches  on  both  sides  being  thronged. 


Lord  Hartington  took  his  seat  at  the  last  moment;  ^2  past 
four ;  and  was  cheered  by  both  sides.  Mr.  Forster x  and  your 
Majesty's  humble  correspondent  were  also  received  by  their  friends 
with  great  cordiality. 

The  Address  was  moved  by  Hon.  Edward  Stanhope  in  a  speech 
of  striking  ability.  Instead  of  a  mechanical  comment  on  each 
paragraph  of  the  Royal  Speech,  Mr.  Stanhope  generalised  on  two 
great  subjects,  your  Majesty's  Colonial  Empire,  and  the  Health 
of  your  People.  He  produced  a  great  effect.  He  commenced 
by  an  allusion  to  the  illness  of  H.R.H.  Prince  Leopold,  and  to 
your  Majesty's  anxiety,  than  which  few  things  could  be  more 
graceful  and  felicitous. 

The  Member  for  Glasgow,  who  seconded  the  Address,  unfor- 
tunately spoke  in  the  language  of  his  country,  and,  so,  soon  lost 
the  House;  but  all  his  observations  were  sensible  and  acute,  and 
worthy  of  a  descendant  of  Bailie  Nicol  Jarvie.  The  new  houses 
in  Glasgow  for  the  artisans,  and  the  polluted  state  of  the  famous 
Clyde,  gave  him  a  becoming  position  in  the  business  of  the  eve- 

Lord  Hartington,  well-prepared  and  thoughtful,  made  a  reputa- 
ble appearance,  and  the  general  impression  on  both  sides  was 
favorable  to  the  effort. 

Mr.  Disraeli  closed  the  debate,  as  no  one  would  rise,  though 
there  had  been  rumors  that  Mr.  Fitzgerald  was  about  to  call  the 
consideration  of  the  House  to  the  contemplated  invasion  of 
Holland  by  Prince  Bismarck.  The  House  was  in  good  spirits 
and  good  temper,  and  there  seems  the  prospect  of  an  active,  but 
serene  session. 

Writing  to  Lady  Chesterfield,  Disraeli  described  Harting- 
ton's  debut  as  leader  more  familiarly.  l  Harty-Tarty  did 
very  well ;  exactly  as  I  expected  he  would ;  sensible,  dullish 
and  gentlemanlike.  Lowe  said,  "  At  last  I  have  heard  a 
proper  leader's  speech;  all  good  sense,  and  no  earnest  non- 

In  the  favourable  atmosphere  thus  created,  the  Minis- 
terial programme  of  social  legislation  was  auspiciously 
launched.  Sanitas  sanitatum,  omnia  sanitas  had  been  Dis- 
raeli's watchword.  *  A  policy  of  sewage,'  the  Liberals 

i  W.  E.  Forster,  afterwards  Chief  Secretary  for  Ireland,  had  refused 
to  let  his  name  be  submitted  in  competition  with  Hartington's  for  the 
Liberal  leadership. 

1875]  WORKING  MEN'S  NEEDS  363 

had  sniffed  in  reply.  Even  if  limited  to  sewage,  such  a 
policy  was  praiseworthy ;  but,  as  Disraeli  pointed  out  at  the 
close  of  the  session,  sanitary  reform,  '  that  phrase  so  little 
understood,'  included  'most  of  the  civilising  influences  of 
humanity.'  Disraeli  had  given  the  artisans  the  vote  in 
1867.  Gladstone  had  prevailed  on  them  to  use  it  in  ef- 
fecting great  political  changes  in  the  institutions  of  the 
country,  and  particularly  of  Ireland.  What  they  really 
wanted,  in  Disraeli's  opinion,  and  what  in  the  General 
Election  of  1874  they  set  themselves  to  obtain,  were  better, 
healthier,  more  humanising  conditions  in  their  own  daily 
life.  They  wanted  sanitary  and  commodious  homes ;  they 
wanted  regulation  of  their  occupations  so  as  to  minimise 
risk  to  life  and  health  and  to  prevent  excessive  toil  for  their 
women  and  children;  they  wanted  freedom  of  contract  and 
equality  before  the  law  with  their  employers;  they  wanted 
encouragement  and  security  for  their  savings ;  they  wanted 
easy  access  to  light  and  air  and  all  the  beneficent  influences 
of  nature.  These  were  their  principal  wants  in  the  sphere 
of  material  sanitation ;  but  they  had  no  less  need  of  what 
may  perhaps  be  called  mental  and  spiritual  sanitation  — 
a  sphere  which  Disraeli  was  little  likely  to  overlook ;  they 
wanted  the  provision  of  sound  education  and  the  enlarge- 
ment of  religious  opportunity. 

With  one  conspicuous  exception,  these  direct  and  ob- 
vious needs  of  the  working  population  had  been  neglected 
bx_the_Liberals,  still  dominated  as  a  party  by  the  doctrines 
of  laisser  faire.  Elementary  education,  indeed,  they  had 
taken  comprehensively  in  hand ;  but  Forster's  great  Bill 
would  never  have  passed  into  law,  in  view  of  the  bitter 
hostility  of  Radicals  and  Dissenters,  had  it  not  received  the 
general  support  of  Disraeli  and  the  Conservatives.  The 
other  working-class  problem  which  Gladstone's  Ministry 
had  touched,  that  of  the  relations  between  employers  and 
workmen,  they  had  conspicuously  failed  to  solve.  In  one 
single  session,  1875,  Disraeli  and  his  colleagues  vigorously 
attacked  the  '  condition  of  the  people '  question  in  three 


main  branches,  housing,  savings,  and  relations  of  master 
and  man,  effecting  in  each  case  a  striking  improvement  in 
the  law;  and  there  was  none  of  the  working-class  needs 
enumerated  above  that  was  not  to  a  large  extent  supplied 
before  the  Tory  Government  were  expelled  from  office. 

The  Minister  chiefly  responsible  for  this  social  legisla- 
tion was  the  Home  Secretary,  Richard  Cross,  the  shrewd 
Lancashire  lawyer  and  man  of  business  who  frequently 
figures  in  Disraeli's  correspondence  as  '  Mr.  Secy.  X ' ; 
and,  after  him,  N"orthcote,  the  Chancellor  of  the  Exchequer. 
The  homes  of  the  poor  were  dealt  with  first  of  all ;  and  an 
entirely  new  departure  was  made  in  the  Artisans'  Dwellings 
Bill,  which  for  the  first  time  called  in  public  authorities  to 
remedy  the  defects  of  private  dwelling-houses.  By  its 
provisions  local  authorities  in  large  towns  were  empowered 
to  remove  existing  buildings  for  sanitary  reasons  and  re- 
place them  by  others,  the  new  buildings  to  be  devoted  to 
the  use  of  artisans.  True  to  his  rigid  economic  doctrine, 
the  eminent  Radical,  Fawcett,  scoffed  at  the  proposal ;  and 
asked  why  Parliament  should  facilitate  the  housing  of 
working  men  and  not  that  of  dukes?  But  the  artisans 
themselves  and  the  public  at  large  welcomed  this  honest 
attempt  to  deal  with  the  rookeries  which  disgraced  our 
urban  civilisation,  and  which  made  decent  life  almost  im- 
possible for  those  who  dwelt  in  them.  When  excessive  de- 
mands for  compensation  impeded  the  working  of  the  scheme, 
the  Government  passed  in  18Y9  an  Amending  Bill  providing 
that,  if  overcrowding  had  created  a  nuisance,  compensation 
should  be  fixed  on  the  value  of  the  house  after  abatement 
of  the  nuisance,  so  that  grasping  and  callous  owners  should 
not  profit  by  their  misdeeds. 

Savings  were  promoted  and  secured  by  a  Friendly  So- 
cieties Bill,  in  Northcote's  charge.  This  struck  a  mean 
between  the  extremes  of  too  great  State  interference  and  of 
insufficient  protection.  It  left  the  Societies  a  wide  measure 
of  self-management,  but  insured  the  adoption  of  sound 
rules,  effective  audit,  and  rates  of  payment  sufficient  to 


maintain  solvency.  It  established  the  Friendly  Societies, 
and  with  them  the  people's  savings,  on  a  satisfactory  basis. 

But  the  most  important  legislation  of  the  session  dealt 
with  the  relation  of  master  and  man.  Hitherto  the  work- 
man had  been  severely  handicapped  in  his  contentions  with 
his  employer  about  wages  and  conditions  of  service  by  two 
rules  of  law  coming  down  from  a  state  of  society  ante- 
cedent to  the  industrial  epoch.  In  the  first  place,  breach 
of  contract  by  the  workman  was  regarded,  and  punished, 
as  a  criminal  offence,  while  the  employer  in  a  like  case  was 
only  liable  in  the  civil  courts;  and,  in  the  second  place, 
the  doctrine  of  '  conspiracy '  among  workmen  was  applied 
in  such  a  way  as  to  cover  the  normal  actions  of  trade  unions, 
and  to  bring  their  promoters  within  reach  of  the  criminal 
law.  By  two  Bills  which  Cross  introduced,  in  pursuance 
of  the  report  of  the  Royal  Commission  of  the  previous  year, 
both  these  wrongs  were  righted.  The  one  made  employers 
and  workmen  equal  before  the  law  as  regards  labour  con- 
tracts, constituting  breach  of  contract  merely  a  civil  of- 
fence on  the  part  of  a  workman  as  it  had